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a benefit corporation is a type of for-profit corporate entity, authorized by 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia that includes positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals.

Some states have changed their corporate laws to specifically allow a for-profit corporation (not a limited liability company, partnership, or cooperative) to be a public benefit corporation. In so doing, states relieve the directors and officers of the corporation from the obligation to maximize shareholder value and, instead, consider also the corporation’s effect on the community, employees, customers, the environment, and other socially-responsible matters. - See more at: DeWitt-Ross

The invisible hand is an expression that came about from "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations", 1776 by Adam Smith. He argued that the 'invisible hand' would organise markets and ensure that they arrived at the optimum outcome. This would all happen by individuals and firms pursuing their self-interest, yet despite this apparent selfishness, the invisible hand of markets still ensured the best outcome for all concerned.
But in his first work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments - which he considered his most meaningful contribution - he writes about our duty to fellow members of society. Pundits on either end of the political spectrum quote whichever work suits their argument.

In the late 20th century when we became more urbanized and pollution, air and water quality, became more important, the maximization of shareholder value came under question.

In the 21st century with corporations being bailed out by the government because of questionable business practices to maximize profits in the short run and income disparity increasing, the invisible hand came under question.
The occupy wall street and environmental movements put more light on the responsibility of corporations to society.

There have been corporations with an emphasis on social responsibility for some time. LL Bean and Patagonia come to mind.
  • B Corp - Certified B Corporations - Available in all states - Certified by B Lab
  • B Corporation - Available in 30 states See Benefit Corporations & Certified B Corps | Benefit Corporation
  • Circular Economy - An industrial economy that is producing no waste and pollution.
  • Gig Economy - A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

Shareholder Vs. Stakeholder Focused Companies: Which Brings Higher Financial Returns? | B Revolution Consulting, Inc.

Books and Magazines:
- Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose: Amazon.com
- B Magazine - B The Change Media

last updated 2 Aug 2016