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B-Corps 101

If you haven’t heard yet, Mosaic recently became a Certified B Corporation. Don’t know what that is? You probably should, it’s an exciting new certification that could have real implications for the way we all do business.

B-Corps or “Benefit Corporations” are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Thanks to legislation now passed in 7 states across the United States, B-Corps have emerged as an alternative to traditional for-profit and  non-profit corporate structures.

We all wonder why big business just can’t seem to get on board with the idea that they should use their resources to do good in the world, but the answer isn’t just about a moral question. For-profit companies are legally obligated to maximize the stock value or risk being sued by shareholders, which is why you will never see McDonald’s switch to 100% organic food obtained from entirely sustainable sources. It would probably cost them a fortune and hurt the company stock, leaving the big-wigs subject to legal action. But the beauty of a B-Corporation is that it is has the legally protected right to include environmental and social considerations into its bylaws. People, Profit, Planet, all in equal standing before the law. Crazy, right?

But it is not the heavyweight corporations that stand to benefit the most. It is social and environmental movements that seek to sustain themselves without depending on outside funding. If you know anyone who works in the non-profit world, they will tell you that the constant struggle to get grants and donations is exhausting. It can also be demoralizing when you have to compromise your mission and values to appeal to donors and foundations. 

So for the next generation of do-gooders ready to found new organizations to address the ills of the world, there is now an option for us to create our own wealth in benevolent way. We can fund our movements with renewable energy and organic food instead of corporate donations that only trickle down to us for the sake of someone else’s public relations campaign. 

By itself, that is a huge step. But it also represents a larger shift of power from profit-driven corporations to people-powered movements. The B-Corporation can be a powerful tool to bring about that change. Expect to see many more social entrepreneurs making good use of it in the years to come.

Want to see what some B-Corps are doing out there in the world? Check out their website for some inspiring case studies here