Description: Public Benefit Corporations are promoted by B Lab - set up as a charity
What is good: A small step away from the short term view of maximizing shareholder interests above this of wider society
HQ Location and Country: Berwyn, Pennsylvania, USA
Operation locations: B Lab UK has offices in London EC1R

The charity that acts as an umbrella organisation advocating they move towards Benefit Corporation status.

How it shows

Getting organised: from their siteThose who think capitalism can be a force for good if shareholder interests are balanced against other stakeholders are organising to promote a change to the way companies are constituted. A primer which addresses the natural scepticism on this can be found here BBC R4 The Bottom Line - The Ethics of Business 


Balanced measurement: from their site - The Benefit Corporation idea originated in the US and is actively trying to spread. It requires companies to audit themselves and change their governance so that they move away from the simple formulation of maximizing shareholder profit. The companies must achieve certification to be classed as Pubic benefit Corporation. These are still run as for profit organizations and stipulate that a not from profit cannot become a Public Benefit Corporation unless it becomes a for profit. So if we set aside the quest for perfection and want to see a small step in the right direction then this movement represents an attempt by capitalism to recognize that short terms is a problem that needs to be fixed. It represents an alternative to the plc and could be seen as the conventional end of the spectrum that has cooperatives at the other end. 


Within holistic political economy this is one of the low bars. If these companies can say there is more to businesses than shareholder returns then all companies can, the reason that they don't is because we do not have the culture to use peer group pressure to force all companies.

There is an active debate about whether this should be seen as merely trying to put an acceptable gloss on unacceptable business practices in the mainstream economy, the opening statement of the wikipedia entry is hostile to it on the basis that organisations who claim to be public benefit corporation have racist practices.