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There's a new way of doing business in Illinois. Having passed in the House and Senate, Benefit Corporation (B Corp) legislation is but a Governor’s signature away from being signed into law, which would make Illinois the 10th state in the union to provide a legal structure for companies that want conduct socially responsible business. Below are some reasons why you may want to consider this designation as an option for your business.
What's a B Corp?
According to B Lab, the nonprofit that currently governs B Corp designations, a B Corp is a “type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” Unlike traditional businesses, B Corps must meet certain performance standards on social and environmental issues and attain high legal levels of accountability. They also work to build a constituency of companies that advocate for public policies that support sustainable business.
Does this mean you have to be a clean energy startup or a green building consulting firm (for example) to be a B Corp? Not at all. Any type of for-profit business can become a B Corp. It just means that issues like the environment, social justice, organizational transparency, and so on will be considered alongside profit as the company does business.
Seven Reasons to Become an Illinois B Corp
B Corps offer a number of unique opportunities for businesses to put purpose alongside profits as a company grows and solidifies its mission. Here are seven reasons why becoming an Illinois B Corp may be good for your organization:
- Being a B Corp attracts like-minded prospective employees who want to work for companies that have a clear vision and purpose.
- B Corps, as a general rule, like to work with other B Corps, so becoming a B Corp can serve as a built-in sales channel.
- B Corp assessment ensures that a business maintains its commitment to the triple bottom line during growth spurts, as companies are reevaluated every year.
- B Corps support business growth through a commitment to employee well-being and professional development.
- B Corps are good for the environment. They have to be.
- B Corps foster good will within their communities by getting involved in community service and charitable giving.
- The Benefit Corporation structure allows stakeholders to challenge shareholders on critical business decisions to ensure social concerns are weighed alongside profitability.
My company Mightybytes is one of 11 B Corps in Illinois. If you have questions about becoming an Illinois B Corp, please feel free to contact me here or via the Mightybytes site. You can connect with us on Twitter and Facebook as well.