By Edward Saunders. It’s great to see the concept of socially minded enterprise being grasped at the centre of US commerce. Monday saw New York State become the seventh state in the US to pass a law creating ‘benefit corporations’. The innovative legal structure means companies can become a corporation without profit-greedy shareholders driving the business away from decisions designed to take not only monetary gain but society, workers and the environment into account.
This follows the creation of Community Interest Companies in the UK in 2005, which effectively allowed social enterprises a business structure specifically tailored to their needs. There’s a long way to go, but socially minded business is beginning to appear at the heart of world trade. As Andrew Greenblatt of US non-profit B-Lab recently commented: “ 10 to 20 years from now this will be the standard way of doing business. And if you’re not a benefit corporation people are going to ask why not.” Why wait that long? With big UK firms like PwC and Deloitte taking huge strides towards assisting the Third Sector, it seems only fair to demand that our American cousins start to catch up!
Let me know what you think.