Can Corporate Sustainability & Economic Growth Coexist?
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Submitted by: The Road Less Traveled
Posted: Jan 25, 2013 – 08:11 AM EST
CHICAGO, Jan. 25 /CSRwire/ - The Road Less Traveled® is proud to announce that on January 2, 2013, became the first Benefit Corporations in Illinois. Gathered at the James R. Thompson Center fourteen companies took the necessary steps to bring thought and conscience to the business economy in Illinois.
On its first day of legislation, with Public Act 97-0885 RLT became Illinois first Benefit Corporation. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Michael Frerichs and Representative Sara Feigenholtz. “Since our inception 22 years ago, The Road Less Traveled® has been a business committed to the fundamental philosophy of ‘do no harm’ in business and throughout the world. When we left the corporate world over two decades ago, we were inspired to build a company that, at the end of the day we could feel good about. We were young, passionate, and determined to make a difference. Thousands of students have traveled with us to dozens of countries around the globe with The Road Less Traveled® forging new roads through social and environmental service and creating change as stewards in the world.” said Donna Stein, Co-Founder, of The Road Less Traveled®.
Benefit corporations enjoy legal protection to create value for society, not just shareholders, while meeting higher standards of accountability and transparency. Current law requires corporations to prioritize the financial interests of shareholders over the interests of workers, communities, and the environment. This legislation is a deliberate effort to change the nature of business by changing corporate law.
Benefit corporations are a new kind of corporation legally required to: 1) have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment; 2) expand fiduciary duty to require consideration of the interests of workers, community and the environment; and 3) publicly report annually on its overall social and environmental performance using a comprehensive, credible, independent, and transparent third party standard. This offers business more freedom in defining success and provides legal protection for those looking to pursue a corporate purpose other than maximizing profits for shareholders.
The thousands of students who have traveled on The Road Less Traveled® will be leading the charge into the future with the B Corp. Donna-Reece Stein says, “They have seen the world, and the beauty of the people and the far off places. They will be the ones demanding that those they work for, and with, conduct their businesses with thought and conscience. This has always been our ultimate work and dream – for Road Less Traveled® students to see and believe in themselves and their individual and collective abilities to impact and shape our world and the future of the 21st century. Our hope is that they will create a future for their children and their children's children that ensures businesses are purpose driven and conducted with thought and conscience. Our hope is that B Corporation will be supported and embraced by all and will give people a choice in how and where they choose to spend their time and money.”
“Benefit Corporation election makes our mission explicit in its legal structure institutionalizing the values, culture, processes and high standards we put in place 22 years ago as founding entrepreneurs. What this means is that we can now ensure our work will continue in the spirit with which it was intended; to 'do no harm' well beyond our lifetime. In electing to become a Benefit Corporation, it seems as if we may have finally found a home, a movement of sorts, where like minded entrepreneurs are committed to a future where people and place matter in business. The Benefit Corporation gives us hope and empowerment using business to solve social and environmental problems. This choice will make a difference not only in our lives but in the lives of future generations. What greater legacy could we leave?” said Donna Reece-Stein.
“I was pleased to lead the way to pass benefit corporation legislation in Illinois. New benefit corporations bring opportunities for business and social responsibility to Illinois. These businesses will foster creativity, providing our state with new economic opportunities while protecting our environment and communities,” said Senate sponsor Senator Michael Frerichs.
To date, 650 companies around the world have embraced the (certification) status so far, some awaiting the passing of legislation, including Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, and most recently Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and changes in legislation are growing. The Road Less Traveled® is honored to become a part of this group of socially conscious companies, and lead the charge for businesses to use their resources for good.
Illinois joins eleven other states, including two of the nation’s largest economies, California and New York, in enacting benefit corporation legislation. Similar legislation has passed in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, Louisiana, South Carolina, Hawaii, Vermont and Maryland with strong bipartisan support. Fifteen other states are moving forward for 2013 in the hopes of creating a new way to do business in the world. Contact The Road Less Traveled® at www.theroadlesstraveled.com.
Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I - I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost
Companies registering as benefit corporations:
The Road Less Traveled®
Orbit Media (registering at a later date)
Solberg Manufacturing Inc. (registering at a later date)
Homeland Logistic Services Inc.
Beyond Green Partners
Foresight Bright LLC (registering at a later date)