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B Corporations, Benefit and Social Purpose Corporations: Impact-Driven Companies

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An NBIS White Paper

Business has a demonstrated power to deliver results. However, too often these results are biased toward the benefit of shareholders and at odds with what makes our society a better place. A new type of corporation with a formalized purpose that includes generating positive impact for society in its core was needed.

Launching a new era of sustainable business, certified B Corporations and legal entities such as Benefit Corporations and Social Purpose Corporations combine business success with social and environmental responsibility and public accountability. As their number, diversity and impact increase, these companies are demonstrating the creativity and innovation that sustainable businesses can bring to our economy.

This paper provides a brief overview of these emerging forms of impact-driven companies, highlighting in particular B Corporation certification which has been available since 2007 and which is not limited by geographic (or jurisdictional) boundaries. We also describe and briefly differentiate new legal corporate forms, such as Benefit  and Social Purpose Corporations, that are being approved in a number of states.

This study charts the growth of certified B Corporations across the United States and internationally and provides an informative at-a-glance overview of the assessment and certification process.  Two business owners discuss the challenges and opportunities inherent in these new models of business.

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