How Benefit Corporations Fulfill Their Promise for the “Greater Good”
It’s in their DNA.
Serving the commons while making a profit.
It is one of the hallmarks of work culture in Benefit Corporations and it comes naturally to the Benefit Companies and Corporations we know.
For many of these companies, this purpose is equally as important as the profit mission. To create a better world, to make a difference, to contribute towards building healthy communities for all – while running a successful business.
But looking beyond their cause-driven intent, they are fulfilling the obligations of the law as an incorporated Benefit Company or Corporation, now available in 32 states across the country. In our home state of Oregon, from the Secretary of State’s Office:
An Oregon Benefit Company is a type of corporation or limited liability company that considers its impact on society and the environment in the business decision-making process, in addition to earning a profit.
Benefit companies differ from traditional corporations and LLCs with regard to their purpose, accountability and transparency. The purpose is to create a general public benefit, which is defined as "a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, from the business and operations of the company."
And the opportunities to actualize this tenet are broad. From the environment to children’s health to the homeless, you’ll find numerous ways a Benefit Company or Corporation gives back to the community.
But it’s more than just writing a token check to a favorite nonprofit organization. Rather it requires a sincere commitment and engaged efforts through hands-on volunteerism and activities.
Businesses create greater good by participating and contributing with hands and hearts.
Here are a few stories of how some of the Benefit Companies and B Corps featured in our book, “Putting Soul into Business,” give back each day:
Sudara Inc is a Benefit Company (Oregon's 'Benefit Corporation') that creates jobs for individuals who have experienced the trauma of sex trafficking, employing them in the clothing industry and using the revenues to support their workforce. It's not about giving back, but rather it's about impact...really changing lives.
Nossa Familia Coffee is a Portland, Oregon-based roaster whose passion is for roasting outstanding coffee. With family ties to over a century of coffee farming in the highlands of Brazil, the company today supports smallholder farmers and cooperatives all over the world.
The Printory provides high-quality, uniquely designed screen printing for T-shirts and other apparel They created the Refutee program as an offshoot of the printing business. Every month new garments and goods are provided to local refugees and immigrants. This platform has allowed the company the opportunities to collaborate with schools, non-profits and local business to support refugees.
Soapbox is a manufacturer and distributor of personal care products throughout the world. Their slogan 'Soap = Hope' underscores the company’s donations of a bar of soap to developing communities with each bar purchased.
Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) is Portland's largest family-owned and operated brewery. HUB sources local ingredients to enrich the local economy and reduce their carbon footprint.
The Joinery creates handcrafted furniture that is here for good and gives back with the company’s significant investment in its employees, environmental performance, and the broader community. They have had significant success with improved resource usage, lowering use of electricity by 20%, water by 40% and natural gas by 12% over in the past three years.
Tofurky produces a vegetarian turkey replacement using a blend of organic tofu and wheat protein. The company created the 'Volunteerism Program,' where employees receive compensation when they volunteer with the community. The staff is encouraged to participate in volunteer activities that interest them while creating healthier communities.
And there are many other stories to share from the 20-plus companies we have certified as “Benefit Corporations for Good.” Each day, they live the principle of giving back to their communities and planet. We are so proud to be associated with them.
Bridge City Media
Eickhof Creative Shop
Happy Smiles for Kids
Oak Iris Tattoo
Purple Rain Adventure Skirts
Rational Unicorn Legal Services
Syndicate Wine Bar
The Peak Fleet
Veterans Business Services
Thanks to them and many other conscientious businesses, we can shift the old paradigm of profit above all else. We can create greater good -- evolving to a humbler approach that values community collaboration. It’s a path to save the planet from environmental toxicity. It’s a path to address the socioeconomic disparities and inequities across the country.
It’s a path of HOPE!