Many employees enjoy working for employers who “do good” in the world. Making money is important, but not always the sole mission of the employer. A large number of companies and their employees are involved in charities and volunteerism. However, a rising number of employers are making a profit while also focusing on societal and environmental concerns. This is a growing trend around the country that has attracted investment by socially-minded entrepreneurs and investors who wish to “do well while doing good.”
In 2014, Florida joined several other states in passing legislation which permits two new types of corporations: “Social Purpose Corporations” and “Benefit Corporations.” Each is permitted to engage in significant societal benefit programs that may not involve or satisfy the traditional corporate goal of maximizing shareholder value. Both, however, are for-profit corporations formed under the Florida Business Corporation Act.
A Social Purpose Corporation is mandated by the law to pursue or create only one or more specific public benefits, such as job creation, employee welfare and environmental and ecological enhancement. In contrast, a Benefit Corporation must pursue business that has a “general public benefit, including environmental, employee, community and other societal factors” which is much broader than the mandate of a Social Purpose Corporation.
HR – let your executives and company owners know about these options in Florida. You might be surprised at who is a part of the new breed of entrepreneurs in the sustainable business movement who are looking to “do good” and still achieve a return on their investment.
Guest Blogger Stuart Ames, our partner and corporate law guru, was part of a small group of Florida Bar Business Law Section members who were instrumental in drafting and helping pass this legislation *A version of this post was published in 2014.