Friday, May 16, 2014

1000 Certified B Corporations

As of earlier this week, B Lab has now certified 1,000 entities as "certified B corporations."

Given over 1 million entities in Delaware alone, coupled with the fact that B Lab seems willing to certify any type of entity, anywhere in the world, (if the company scores above an 80 on B Lab's 200 point survey and pays a fee) 1,000 is a relatively small number. Every movement has to start somewhere, however.

As a side note, I have told a number of folks at B Lab that "certified B corporation" is an inappropriate name, given that they certify limited liability companies, among other entity types, but they do not seem bothered by that technicality.  I am guessing my fellow blogger Professor Josh Fershee would share my concern.   

The number of benefit corporations is more difficult to pin down, but is somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 (including public benefit corporations in Delaware and Colorado).

For the major differences between certified B corporations and benefit corporations, see here. Confusingly, both are sometimes called "B Corps."

While the numbers are currently small, and I have critiques for some of the ways both the certified B corporation and benefit corporation movements are proceeding, I do think the larger social enterprise/social business movement is here to stay.  Therefore, in my writing, I have been attempting to find ways to improve both the certification process and the social enterprise law.  For what it is worth, I have fewer criticisms for the certification process; I think the market will sort out most of the invaluable kinks over time.  Even though I have a number of criticisms for the social enterprise laws, I think the laws may lead to some positive, society-focused norms, if the social enterprises can find a significant number of investors to go along with them.

Business Associations, Haskell Murray, Social Enterprise | Permalink


Great post, and I most certainly do share your concern. I'd like to see separate certifications for B Corps and BLLCs(TM). I remain skeptical of the value of B Corps and other CSR initiatives, but I agree there is value in discussion about how entities can do better. Just the conversation has value, I think.

Posted by: Joshua Fershee | May 16, 2014 8:40:14 AM

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