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B Corp Catches Momentum at State Level

Redesigning the enterprise

New Type of Corp Values Mission and Community

In December 2011, New York became the seventh state to pass bi-partisan legislation to create a new type of corporation that is quickly becoming a household name – a Benefit Corporation. A B-Corp, for short, is required to do what other corporations cannot - consider its impact on equal ground with its bottom line.  B Corporations must make a material positive impact on society and the environment and must meet higher standards of accountability and transparency than traditional corporations.

Maryland became the first state to pass this type of legislation in April 2010. Just 18 months later New York has joined a growing group of states – California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Vermont, and Virginia - interested in developing a new type of business and economy that incorporates employee, community, and environmental interests. This legislation especially aids social entrepreneurs who traditionally have had to balance the social or environmental goals of their business with the need to raise growth capital and generate returns for their investors.

In the same way TransFair certifies Fair Trade coffee or USGBC certifies LEED buildings, B Lab, a non-profit organization certifies B Corporations. As B Lab explains, B-Corps are different because they:

· Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards;
· Meet higher legal accountability standards; and
· Build business constituency for public policies that support sustainable business.

Across the nation, this legislation has received bi-partisan support with an overall vote tally of 892 ayes and 62 nays and signatures from both Republican and Democratic governors. To date, there are more than 517 Certified B Corporations with more than $2.9 Billion in revenues across 60 different industries.

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A Third of All States Now Have Benefit Corp Laws

Last month, the state of Nevada became the 17th state to pass legislation enabling businesses to incorporate as benefit corporations. There are nearly a dozen other states considering legislation, illustrating just how rapidly this idea has spread since Maryland became the first to pass legislation in April 2010. Legislatures in all corners of the U.S. have supported this concept overwhelmingly.

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January 17, 2012
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B Corp Catches Momentum at State Level

In December 2011, New York became the seventh state to pass bi-partisan legislation to create a new type of corporation that is quickly becoming a household name – a Benefit Corporation. A B-Corp, for short, is required to do what other corporations cannot - consider its impact on equal ground with its bottom line. B Corporations must make a material positive impact on society and the environment and must meet higher standards of accountability and transparency than traditional corporations.

read more
April 25, 2011
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B corporations gain media spotlight

According to standard U.S. corporate law, corporate trustees have a fiduciary obligation to maximize shareholder return. This has led to many “socially responsible corporations” being acquired by multi-national companies. Famously, a decade ago Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever. Other examples abound, as Tina Rosenberg of the New York Times details here.

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