October 9, 2011 may now always be remembered as the day that changed corporations forever. On that day, California’s AB 361 bill was signed into law. This new law makes us the sixth state to create new corporate entities known as benefit corporations. The bill not only legalizes the formation of benefit corporations, who are held to third-party scrutiny about their positive effects on society and/or the environment, but also allows existing companies to become bcorps with a 2/3 shareholder vote. Prior to this, ethically conscious businesses often had to operate solely as non-profits. The new law also helps ensure that corporations are held accountable for their effects on their employees and the environment, and that they aren’t simply using environmental buzzwords to retain a competitive edge. A non-profit site called bcorporation.net allows you to find out more about what makes a benefit corporation beneficial, as well as giving you the tools to find responsible businesses near you.
Why not ask companies you invest in to invest in the environment? All it takes to bring about corporate change is enough people to ask for it! How to become a benefit corporation.
And don’t miss this inspiring video interview of an environmental attorney who shares his insight into why Bcorps are really such a big deal.