Creating a Tipping Point
"We're at a tipping point in the evolution of capitalism between a century that was dominated by the shareholder to the next century that will be dominated by the interests of all stakeholders. What benefit corp legislation represents, and what the SVN community represents, is an effort to redefine what it means to be successful in business. As an entrepreneur, you're creating high quality jobs and improving quality of life in your communities; as an investor, you're generating real returns and you're generating real impact." -Jay Coen Gilbert, Founder of B Lab
Benefit corporation legislation gives entrepreneurs who are trying to put purpose at the center of their organization a new legal form that allows them to stay true to their mission over time. Benefit corporations must a) have a mission to create material positive impact on society and the environment; b) consider non-financial interests when making decisions including employees, community, and the environment; and c) report annually on performance using a recognized third-party.
Over twenty SVN members across the state of California were influential in passing the legislation, but none more so than RSF. Don Shaffer, President and CEO of RSF, says the inspiration to back the movement came from a commitment as an investor to support socially and environmentally impactful organizations. "From an investor's point of view, it's critical to be able to differentiate between those that are deeply committed to social and environmental impact in their business, and those that are just savvy marketers trying to climb onto a trend. [Benefit corp legislation] effectively does that and allows us as investors to make clear decisions."