Preface (later) by e-Patient Dave -
Casey and I were discussing that one of the obstacles impeding changing in medicine is that by law, corporate officers have to serve their shareholders first, i.e. make money before they get into any do-gooder stuff. The subject of “B Corps” came up – a pretty new development in American law. She knows the subject and agreed to write about it. As we think about the future of healthcare we should know this option. Thanks, Casey!
What’s a B Corp, you ask? It’s a new classification for corporations, defined as “certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
I learned about B Corps by being involved with a few nascent B Corps in Virginia, the state where I live. Virginia, and particularly Richmond, are something of a hot-bed of B Corps and Benefit Corporations. B Corps are certified via the social, environmental performance, accountability, and transparency standards mentioned above; Benefit Corporations operate under a general principle of social benefit, vs. the traditional corporate “shareholder value comes first” mantra.
The white paper that planted the Benefit Corporation flag says this about the new structure:
Historically, the U.S. legal system governing corporate entities and their activities has not been structured or tailored to address the situation of for-profit companies who seek to use the power of business to solve social problems.