The ‘Benefits’ to Becoming a Benefit Corporation

There has been a drastic reshaping in the core structure of the business world over the past decade. According a study conducted by Nielsen, over 55% of global online consumers would pay more for products from companies committed to a positive social and environmental impact, and B Corporations do just that. They drive product innovation, market growth, and job creation while simultaneously contributing to a net positive impact upon society and providing escalated profit for shareholders.

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Being a B Corp has proven to be fiscally advantageous in many unexpected ways. B Corporations have saved five million dollars in accessed technology, talent, and expertise for their businesses through access to over 80 service partnerships. Most investors are attracted to corporations that strive to meet morally virtuous standards because they strive to benefit not only themselves but also everyone their business touches creating a healthy and sustainable business environment. The good publicity that B Corps generate is unparalleled by any other business venture group. Certified companies represent 31% of America’s most promising social entrepreneurs as stated by Bloomberg Businessweek. By joining a community of some of the most favorable companies including Ben & Jerry’s and Etsy, a B-Corp status indicates to your stakeholders that you are committed to their personal wellbeing and development.

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However, despite all the benefits (pun intended) to becoming a Benefit Corporation only 28 of our 50 states have adopted legislation to accommodate B Corps. So the question stands, if being a B Corporation is such an amazing opportunity, why don’t all corporations strive to join the movement? And why don’t all states strive to adopt new legislations?

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The same two issues that create resistance to any new initiative are the same two issues that create a resistance to B Corps: money and time. In addition to the completion of the B Impact Assessment, corporations are evaluated in five areas based on the GIIRS Rating System that include community, consumers, environment, workers, and governance. Scoring high enough to be eligible to become a B Corp could require significant changes to the way a company operates often dissuading the pursuit of such certification. Additionally, in order to maintain a company’s certification, the business is required to publish annual benefit reports of their social and environmental performance, which offers information on the company’s impact upon all stakeholders. In some states, the corporation must also submit the reports to the Secretary of State (although the Secretary of State has no control over the report’s specific content).

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While it’s complicated to move businesses from being solely profit minded to also incorporating human rights and social issues into their agendas, it is a ultimately a very powerful way to change the world. We are so proud of all of the businesses in our B Corp community and they inspire us every day to work harder. We hope to see all fifty states adopt B Corp legislation because together we can do exponentially more good than we can apart. #bthechange