Liberating the "Spirit"of Business: Benefit Corporations
There is a game-changing movement underway. It is one that has been building over the past 20 years, and it’s moving forward with energy, excitement and mass adoption.
It is the force of “Benefit Corporations."
Put simply, they promise a more authentic, honest and transparent business culture. One that delivers profits, health, sustainability, and empowered communities. A model that speaks to kindness, equity and humility.
This movement has been gaining visibility through a small but growing group of evangelists – advocates for a different way of doing business. And its mission is uncompromising: to bring the soul back into the corporate world. In Oregon alone as 2018 begins, you'll find more than 1400 companies registered as "benefit companies" (the term used in Oregon and Maryland).
And now we are at a tipping point.
Millennials along with an emerging critical mass of people disillusioned with old business practices without ethics, fully embrace this model – a legal business structure now available in 34 states and growing. This model facilitates the positive power of business leaders to do good. Benefit Corporations exemplify the spirit of “Conscientious Organizations and Leadership” … the new mantra for the business world.
It used to be that nonprofits stood alone in their dedication to serving others and creating healthy communities. Although it may sound like heresy, we believe the lines are blurring between nonprofits and cause driven organizations like Benefit Corporations.
The philosophy behind Benefit Corporations is based on having a purpose to “improve the world,” to “save the planet.” It becomes a part of the work culture and reflects the DNA of the business. In short, profit is generated NOT to further the pockets of shareholders, CEOs, or owners alone, but to support the programs and services of the causes embraced by the business.
But, this is not to discount the role of profit.
Profit can inspire leaders to take risks, to innovate, to change, to reward and survive. American businesses need profit for research and development, for investments in technology, for training. And we believe the world grows in a healthy manner when aligned with a simple profit motive to pay self, employ others and grow. The key is how much profit is needed before it turns into greed. And what is the purpose of the profit, if not to support families and communities.
This is where Benefit Corporations come in. It’s a new paradigm that checks this greed, by focusing on people, planet and purpose.
It is a new course for Oregon and American businesses. One that will create growth, satisfaction and hope. It’s a win- win for all.
If you'd like to see if your business is ready to become a benefit corporation, take our free 12-question "sniff" test and find out right now.