In recent years the concept of social entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular in the business world. A benefit corporation is a new type of corporate entity that relates to social entrepreneurship. Here is the definition of benefit corporations as it appears on Benefitcorp.net:
A benefit corporation is a new legal tool to create a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation. It protects mission through capital raises and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO. (FAQ)
Certified B corporations are similar to benefit corporations, but there are a few differences that stand out. The most important difference is that in order to become a B Corp a company must have their performance assessed by B Lab. B Lab rates companies based on categories like environment and community.
This post will take a look at three of the most well-known benefit corporations and certified B corporations. Keep reading to learn how these companies are having a positive impact on the world.
Etsy is a popular online marketplace that specializes in vintage and handmade items. It is also one of the first B Corps to go public. In order to become a certified B corporation, a company must receive a score between 80 and 200. Etsy currently has a score of 127. Etsy defines itself as a “mindful, transparent, and humane business” (Mission & Values). The company particularly prides itself on its concern for the environment. It helps the environment by setting carbon reduction goals and employing waste reduction practices throughout its offices. The median score that B Lab gives for its environment category is 7. This year Etsy scored a 14.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that was launched in 2009. The site focuses on helping artists and businesses fund their creative ventures. So far the company has helped backers pledge $2.6 billion (About). Kickstarter’s charter features multiple sections that outline the company’s commitment to making a positive impact on the world. For example, one section says “Kickstarter will annually donate 5% of its after-tax profit towards arts and music education, and to organizations fighting to end systemic inequality as further defined in sections 4(c) and 5(c) below (the “5% pledge”)” (Charter). Starting in 2017, the company will release benefit statements that measure the results of its initiatives.
Patagonia is another certified B Corp. The company was founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, a rock climber and environmentalist. Patagonia uses “environmentally preferred” materials to make its clothing (B Corp). Environmentally preferred means that the materials are organic or recycled. As a result of its commitment to the environment, the company has an environment score of 35 and a total score of 114. Patagonia has an entire section of its site devoted to corporate responsibility. It lists information on the company’s attitude toward working with factories, the company’s stance on migrant workers, and the company’s environmental impact. To learn more about the “activist company,” visit this page.