Benefit Corporation designations create a new level of corporate transparency to help consumers and investors choose businesses that share their values. (Il State Rep Sara Feigenholtz (May 11, 2012)
Under traditional corporate structures, executives have a legal duty to maximize profits – without consideration of other objectives or stakeholders. The Benefit Corporation structure empowers management to consider the impact on employees, communities, and the environment in their decision making.
The Benefit Corporation is a new construct. Maryland was the first state to pass legislation in April 2010. As of 2016, more than 31 states have passed Benefit Corporation laws, including California, New York, and Illinois. Notably, Delaware (home to most of the country’s largest companies) passed benefit corporation in July 2013. Several other states are considering the legislation. Many different companies have registered as Benefit Corporations, including Patagonia, Ben and Jerry’s, and AutonomyWorks.
Becoming a Benefit Corporation allowed us to imbed our social mission in our financial and operating structures. It doesn’t seem like a big deal when we are small and every person is passionate about our mission, but things change as organizations grow. Whatever the changes in our future may be, our board and our executives are required to deliver our social mission.