Buffalo First! is proud to announce the passage of legislation allowing for Benefit Corporations in New York State. The measure was passed by the New York State Senate (bill S79-a, 62-0) on June 16, 2011 and by the New York State Assembly (bill A4692-a, 139-0) on June 17, 2011. The bill has been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
When signed into law, the bill will make New York the fifth state to allow businesses to be recognized by law as Benefit Corporations. Similar legislation has been signed into law in Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Benefit Corporations, the brainchild of B Lab, fill the need for environmentally and socially conscious businesses to lead the way to a more sustainable future for our economy. The idea is that when companies have a legal responsibility to all relevant stakeholders -- not only shareholders, but also employees, consumers, the environment and the community -- their impact is strikingly more positive, and even more profitable.
Similar to other methods of incorporation for business like the C Corp or S Corp, a Benefit Corporation would be a new legally recognized class of corporation, subject to rigorous standards and responsibilities. B Lab has already developed a B Impact Assessment which it uses to certify what it calls "B Corporations." This voluntary certification recognizes companies that are purpose-driven and which create benefit for the community, the environment, and employees -- as well as for shareholders. The bill would allow companies to undergo the B Impact Assessment and subsequent B Lab certification as one way to meet the statutory requirements for Benefit Corporation status.
Not only does the passage of this legislation mark a significant step toward Buffalo First!'s goal of a more just, sustainable and environmentally-friendly economy, but it is also a testament to the hard work and dedication of Buffalo First! member businesses, nonprofit partners and individuals. Our concentrated campaign was aided by the impassioned support of citizens and forward-thinking local businesses, who called on lawmakers to pass Benefit Corporation legislation with phone calls and letters of support.
As one of only two BALLE network organizations to require usage of B Lab's B Impact Assessment for member businesses, Buffalo First! has been a key supporter of Benefit Corporation Legislation both via B Lab and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). Buffalo First! also successfully lobbied for a City of Buffalo Common Council resolution, sponsored by Council Members Michael J. LoCurto, David A. Rivera and Michael P. Kearns, strongly urging the New York State Senate and Assembly to pass Benefit Corporation Legislation.
Read the New York State Assembly Press Release here
Read more about B Corps here
B Corp and Benefit Corporation disambiguation