Submitted by: B Lab
Posted: Feb 28, 2008 – 10:46 AM EST
BERWYN, PA - February 28, 2008 - The Rockefeller Foundation has awarded a grant to B Lab, one of the newest social capital markets infrastructure innovations. B Lab, a non-profit based in Berwyn, PA, supports B Corporations, a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to create a public benefit incorporating the interests of employees, the community and the environment.
The Rockefeller Foundation made the grant as part of its Impact Investing work to help facilitate the necessary infrastructure to develop more scalable, efficient social capital markets. The Foundation's Impact Investing activities are focused on expediting access to capital to generate opportunities for poor and vulnerable people. B Corporations bring three key elements of this infrastructure together: performance standards, a stakeholder legal framework, and the unifying brand to build collective voice for sustainable business and for-profit social enterprise.
"B Corporations are an excellent synthesis of the best innovative thinking of how enterprises can be better organized for both financial return on investment and greater transparency and accountability for social and environmental outcomes," said Antony Bugg-Levine, Managing Director, at the Rockefeller Foundation. "We're delighted to be working with B Lab's founders, who themselves are experienced and successful entrepreneurs and investors."
Since public launch of its performance and legal standards in June 2007, B Lab has certified more than 80 B Corporations, representing a $650 million marketplace. B Corporations are in 17 states and represent more than 20 industries, from national consumer brands to global financial intermediaries. To become certified, B Corporations must achieve a minimum score (80 out of 200) on the B Ratings System; and legally expand the responsibilities of the corporation to include consideration of the interests of employees, community, and environment.
B Lab's independent Standards Advisory Council oversees the B Ratings System, a comprehensive, transparent and comparable measurement tool to assess a company's social and environmental impact. Similar to Moody's or Standard & Poor's, which provide investors with bond ratings based on a company’s financial performance, the B Ratings System is a tool to allow investors, consumers and policy makers to make informed decisions based on a company's social and environmental performance.
"Through the B Ratings System we give investors the tools and information they need to make not just responsible but high impact investment decisions," said B Lab co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert. "And with the B Corporation legal framework, we give impact investors, and the for-profit social entrepreneurs they support, the tools they need to maintain the mission of these companies as they increase in size, raise additional capital, or seek liquidity."
Working with dozens of attorneys from Linklaters and Jones Day, B Lab developed a legal framework that, within existing corporate law, allows companies to expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests.
"A new generation of social entrepreneurs, with strong business savvy and investment experience, is launching scalable ventures across various geographies and sectors," said Bugg-Levine of the Rockefeller Foundation. "Efficiently matching sources of capital to the entrepreneurs, like those at B Lab, who can deploy capital effectively, could help create a major improvement in implementing commercially viable solutions to intractable social problems while unlocking substantial new capital for the social sector."
"Rockefeller's partnership is about more than just funding,"said Coen Gilbert. "They have already introduced us to several important collaborators through their Rockefeller Impact Investing Collaborative. The UK-based Social Stock Exchange, with which we are working to create the BX, a public stock exchange for B Corporations, is just one example."
About B Lab
B Lab is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to support B Corporations by:
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., to "promote the well-being" of humanity by addressing the root causes of serious problems. The Foundation supports work around the world to expand opportunities for poor or vulnerable people and to help ensure that the benefits of globalization are shared more widely. With assets of nearly $4 billion, it is one of the few institutions to conduct such work both within the United States and internationally.
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