In 1999, Ben & Jerry’s was forced to sell their company to corporate giant Unilever or face the possibility of litigation from shareholders. There was nothing Ben & Jerry’s could do to protect or preserve the social mission it had baked into the Ben & Jerry’s brand. The company legally had to go to the highest bidder to serve shareholder profits.
B Corp, a new form of corporate designation, gives businesses the legal powers to protect and institutionalize their commitment to social good. Our client Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. became a B Corp a few months back. Now, Hypenotic is especially proud to be among the first Canadian companies to do a flying leap (more like a Grand Jeté) aboard this powerful movement. In fact, our B Corp profile went live on the B Corp site this week.
Here we are signing our official B Corp Declaration of Interdependence
B Corp created a detailed assessment that allows companies like ours to evaluate their social responsibility. Once a company passes the initial assessment they’re required to change their Articles of Incorporation to legally proclaim their responsibility to consider all stakeholders including the community, employees, clients and environment in business decisions.
Needless to say, we passed the assessment. Which is great–some of us thrive on gold stars. But we plan to use the B Corp scorecard as a road-map connecting our values with our practices.
We’ve also made the required changes to our legal articles of incorporation so this is much more than a “feel good” proposition. The changes to our articles mean that from this point forward we have a legal requirement to serve all of our stakeholders. Our asses are on the line, just where we like ‘em.
As one of the inaugural Canadian B Corps we have the opportunity to help define what B Corp looks like from a legal and public policy perspective here. Sig@Mars, B Corp’s Toronto home has invited us to join the B Corp Legislation Steering Committee and we’re actively working with Sig@Mars to help grow the movement in Canada.
If you’re looking to better understand what B Corp is all about there are some great articles below to get your started. And, if you’re ready to go B Corp, let us know and we’ll put you in touch with Adam Spense at Sig@Mars.
A big splashy event is planned for the fall, stay tuned here for details.
- The Nation: The Rise of Benefit Corporations
- Inc Magazine The Social Entrepreneurship Spectrum: B Corporation
- NY Times: A Scorecard for Companies with a Conscience