Sustainability is important to many corporations, and being publicly labeled as a sustainable company can attract a certain type of loyal employee and customers. You may be considering adopting a corporate or LLC public benefit company label to distinguish you from your competition, and develop customer loyalty to your brand. Here’s what you need to know about sustainability, as well as how becoming a public benefit corporation can help.
What Is Sustainability?
Global sustainability should be seen as an opportunity. Ultimately, sustainability is reflected by your company’s impact on the environment, people, and the community. Sustainability is about far more than just “being green”. Addressing things like global poverty, world hunger, clean water, disease outbreaks, racial equality, gender equality, and many more, will require a collective effort by companies and governments across the globe. In the coming years companies will need to be sustainable if they wish to compete in the marketplace. Today is the best time to become a sustainable company. Some of the world’s largest problems are going to require some of the best solutions.
Why Create a Sustainable Company?
Being a sustainable company will allow you to take advantage of a growing demand for sustainably sourced products and services that is changing our economic system as we know it. Previously, it was believed that focusing a company’s resources on protecting the environment would take away from the company’s bottom line: making money for the shareholders. Today this couldn’t be further from the truth. Consumers want to purchase goods that are produced without destroying the ozone, or killing the coral reefs. It gives consumers a sense of purpose in their purchases. Because of this, large retailers are pushing companies to produce “green products.”
As mentioned, sustainability is far more than just being eco-friendly. It is also about your company’s impact on its stakeholders. To meet this standard, companies have to be concerned about the well being of its employees, local community, suppliers, retailers, consumers, investors, and shareholders. Some may say that the natural purpose of a company is to create profit and that by emphasizing something like volunteer and sponsorship opportunities the company cuts into its profits. While it is true that increasing the happiness of stakeholders will cost the company more money up front, it also provides the company with more opportunities. For example, let’s say that you’re in a bidding war for a new contract. The bidder that more closely aligns its values and missions with that of the buyer has a better chance of winning. Increasingly company mission and value statements address sustainability. A company that has focused energy on its stakeholders demonstrates that they will do the same for their customers.
Last, it is important for companies to back up their sustainability initiatives by changing or structuring their corporate governance in such a way as to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. Purpose driven companies are becoming increasingly important to consumers. People want to know that when they go into a store, or hire a contractor, that others with whom they do business care about something more than just making money. Beyond that, people want to work at companies that stand for something. This in turn means that purpose driven companies will attract the best talent and increase productivity.
How Does a Public Benefit Corporation Factor In?
Being a sustainable company will give your company a competitive edge in the marketplace. Today companies have the opportunity to get ahead of the curve and start taking steps to become sustainable. If you are passionate about being a sustainable company, you should consider becoming either a public benefit corporation or a public benefit limited liability company, with a mission of care and sustainability to your customers, community, employees, and the world. Meeting global sustainability standards will also put your company on the right path to becoming a certified B Corp, if you choose to pursue that additional certification.
You can either form a new company with a public benefit purpose in Delaware, or amend your certificate to become one. That is a tangible first step in becoming a sustainable company.