Green America is a proud supporter of the Benefit Corporation legislation. We continue to advocate on behalf of our green business community to help build momentum for the new legislation in key states.
Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont and Washington DC have enacted Benefit Corporation legislation with strong bi-partisan support; other states are posed to enact legislation as well.
What is a Benefit Corporation?
Benefit Corporations are a new class of corporation that
- creates a material positive impact on society and the environment;
- expands fiduciary duty to require consideration of non-financial interests when making decisions; and
- reports on its overall social and environmental performance using third party standards. Benefit corporation legislation does not require a benefit corporation to use any specific third party standard to prepare its annual benefit report. Nor is the benefit corporation required to have that report certified or audited by a third party.
Can I use my Green America certification to become a Benefit Corporation?
The Green America certification does meet the third party standards for annual benefit reporting outlined in the legislation for each state.
What states have passed Benefit Corporation status?
As of May 2013, the following states have enacted Benefit Corporation legislation: (green on map)
|Legislation Passed (Green on map)
||Legislation Introduced (Blue on map)
Arizona – Will go into effect on October 22, 2013
Arkansas – Passed. Will go into effect 90 days
Colorado – Will go into effect on January 1, 2014
California – Effective January 1, 2012
Delaware – Partially effective August 1, 2013
Hawaii - Effective July 8, 2011
Illinois - Effective January 1, 2013
Louisiana - Effective August 1, 2012Maryland – Effective October 1, 2011
Massachusetts – Effective December 1, 2012
New Jersey – Effective March 7, 2011
New York – Effective February 10, 2012
Pennsylvania – Effective January 22, 2013
South Carolina – Effective June 14, 2012
Virginia – Effective July 1, 2011
Vermont – Effective January 1, 2011
Washington, DC - Pending congressional review
Alabama – Passed Senate Committee
Connecticut – Introduced February 7, 2013
Florida – Failed
Iowa – Introduced in 2011
Michigan – Introduced
Montana – Failed
Nevada – Passed Assembly
North Carolina –Introduced February 1, 2011
Oregon – Passed House Committee
Rhode Island – Introduced February 28, 2013
Texas – Introduced March 18, 2013
West Virginia – Introduced February 26, 2013
What if my business is an LLC?
Maryland is the only state that has created the Benefit LLC legal designation. We recommend that you speak with legal counsel and your tax advisor regarding the implications of changing your status from LLC to Benefit LLC. Green America and the Green Business Network cannot provide you with legal advice. This page is for educational purposes only.
What is the process for filing as a Benefit Corporation in my state?
B Lab has created the Benefit Corporation Information Center which lists the general requirements for the states where Benefit Corporation legislation has been passed. For the latest information, click here to learn how to become a benefit corporation.
What is the difference between being a B Corp and a Benefit Corporation?
According to the Benefit Corporation Information Center:
Certified B Corporation is a certification conferred by the nonprofit B Lab. Benefit Corporation is a legal status administered by the state.
Do I need to be a B Corp in order to be a Benefit Corporation?
No. Benefit Corporation legislation does not require certification or membership in any specific organization.
How do I use Green America’s Green Business Certification to apply for Benefit Corporation status?
The Benefit Corporation legislation requires businesses to create annual benefit reports outlining their overall social and environmental performance using a third party standard. Green America’s online certification program allows businesses to measure their sustainability performance, identify and implement new sustainability projects, and report leadership to clients through an interactive seal that generates a real-time public sustainability report. This online report fulfils the annual benefit reporting requirement for the Benefit Corporation status.
Does being a Benefit Corporation earn my business extra points in Green America’s green business certification?
Yes. Benefit Corporations and Benefit LLCs will earn extra points in GreenGain, Green America’s certification assessment program. Click here for more information on Green America’s standards and ratings system.
Why should I choose to incorporate as a Benefit Corporation?
Becoming a Benefit Corporation legally allows your company to make decisions based on sustainability and mission. Benefit Corporation status sets your company apart and demonstrates to consumers a commitment to both people and planet along with shareholders. It also offers legal protection to directors and officers to consider the non-financial interests of their workforce, community, and the environment when making decisions, even in liquidity/sale scenarios.
The sale of Ben & Jerry’s has been used as an example for the creation of the Benefit Corporation. Read more below to decide if being a Benefit Corporation is right for your business.