In our experience, B Corps and Benefit Corporations are not common knowledge in Tennessee or the Southeast… at least not yet. We’ve been working to change that, or even to just slightly move the needle, by spreading the word about B Corps and Benefit Company structures through various workshops and blog articles.
The next phase of our plan involves distribution of these regional guides (like the one for the Southeast below and The Mid-Atlantic Guide to B Corps ) that provides insight for companies into what “going B” would look like. Our goal is to clear up some common misconceptions and present B Corp certification or Benefit Corporation designation (or both) as viable paths forward for businesses looking to pursue both purpose and profit.
Find The Full Version Of Our Southeast Guide to B Corps For Download here.
Introduction to the Guide
“A corporation is a creature of state law. It is governed first and foremost by laws of the place in which it is incorporated and/or principally operates and additionally by the standards to greater or lesser degrees of the places in which it conducts business. Of course, from Alabama to California, we are a diverse country of diverse sets of rules and regulations. Rising above the diversity, however, is the universal principle of shareholder primacy; that is, corporate directors are elected by corporate shareholders, and the directors in their management of the corporation must above all else provide a financial return to shareholders.
An unfortunate byproduct of shareholder primacy is that it limits the ability of corporate management to at times esteem its employees and environmental footprints or to measure the social consequences of its practices, if such estimation or measurement endangers stockholder return. This is admittedly an oversimplification, but not an egregious one. Time and time again, corporations have been prevented from, say, paying employees higher wages at the expense of issuing dividends by lawsuits initiated by shareholders against corporate directors, aka shareholder suits.
The rise of the benefit corporation is in direct response to shareholder primacy. Under benefit corporation statutes, corporations that operate according to a ‘doing well by doing good’ ethos are shielded from a range of acquisition tactics and shareholder suits when compliant with the respective statutes. Moreover, data is showing that benefit corporations tend to attract better talent and scale better than their non-benefit peers. They may even find tax advantages not otherwise available.
We at RVL® are into doing well by doing good. We’re one of the handful of Certified B Corp® law firms and a 2018 Best for the World Honoree for our commitment to triple-bottom-line business practices. We believe that the challenging work of building today’s companies for tomorrow’s economies goes hand in hand with positively impacting the environmental and social fabric of our community.”
This introduction, a Q&A, a breakdown of state-by-state statutes, and some notable examples are available for download and distribution below.
Please note that this guide is for informational and advertisement purposes only. The use of this guide does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. As laws frequently change and may be interpreted differently, RVL® does not in any way guarantee the accuracy or applicability of this information. It’s meant as a resource and reference tool.