Today we’re going to play with Bs. No stings, all honey.
We’re talking about B corporations.
There are a number of Bs buzzing around when we talk about the benefit corporation. Let’s start at the beginning with a bit of history.
Back in the day, as more companies became publicly owned, rules were established to make sure the whole concept didn’t turn into full-on shenanigans. The most important? The mandate of shareholder primacy. This provided the assurance that traditional corporations had to maximize returns to shareholders above all other goals.
But business, and the world, are changing. In 2010, Maryland became the first state to pass legislation allowing corporations to file under a new legal form, the benefit corporation. The benefit corporation, or B corporation, is a legal structure that allows the company to operate without adherence to stakeholder primacy.
Basically, that’s change. But in reality, a company doesn’t have to do anything differently in its operations to file as a B corporation. It just has to say it is one.
A BIG deal is when a company qualifies as a Certified B Corporation. Certification is a voluntary process a corporation can undertake. The evaluation is overseen by the B Lab, a global nonprofit that provides the rigorous screening required for this distinction.
What does it mean to be a Certified B Corporation? The B Corp Declaration of Interdependence says it best:
- That we must be the change we seek in the world.
- That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
- That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
- To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.
You better believe we have a bevy of Certified B Corporations among our F Project members! We’d like to give a special shout-out to these amazing benefactors: