The non-profit organization B Lab created a new corporate classification for American companies called B Corporation. B Corporation businesses must adopt the stakeholder management model, instead of the usual shareholder model. Also a B Corporation is committed to:
- Consider environmental and social issues on all decisions …
- … and reach specific performance goals on these areas
The stakeholder management model differs from the current American corporate law which defines as businesses obligation only to maximize shareholders’ return.
Only 19 from 50 American states do not adopted the new certification yet (among those, Delaware, headquarter of many large American businesses). Luckily, there is a strong case supporting the adoption of the stakeholder model everywhere. B Lab already certified that 230 companies from 50 industries are classified as B Corporations. Their combined revenues reach US$1 billion. B Lab’s goal is to identify a new generation of Fortune 500 companies that absorb this new legal structure on their DNAs.
Although the certified companies are relatively small for the American market, one has to consider that this new decision model is a reality in the US, one of the biggest economies of the world. Considering stakeholders interests when making business decisions (including environmental and social issues) is not new, but is not common day-to-day business either. Perhaps legal pressure and protection can make the difference and lead the corporate world towards a more sustainable development.