Andrew Weaver to introduce legislation to support companies that pursue social and environmental goals

May 02, 2018

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, announced today that he will introduce legislation that would enable B.C. companies to incorporate as benefit companies. The bill, which Weaver announced following a roundtable with business leaders in Vancouver, would amend the Business Corporations Act to allow companies that choose to incorporate as benefit companies to pursue social and environmental goals, rather than just profit.  

“This legislation is an opportunity for B.C. to lead the country in supporting businesses that want to be a bigger part of developing innovative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century,” said Weaver.

“The world is experiencing tectonic shifts - from climate change to automation, we need to think differently in order to turn these challenges into opportunities. Government and individuals cannot solve these problems alone. Businesses play a huge role in our society and they are part of the solution. Companies that pursue a triple bottom line are on the cutting edge of rethinking the role of business in the 21st century. They know that acting in the best interests of people and the planet is the best way to build a thriving economy for the long-term.

“This legislation would provide a legal framework for companies that choose to pursue social and environmental goals and operate in a responsible and sustainable manner. By making B.C. the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow businesses to incorporate as benefit companies, we are sending a strong signal about the kind of economy we want for our province.”

Weaver’s bill is his caucus’ first bill to be put through the official legislative drafting process, making it possible that this could be the first Private Member’s Bill introduced by an opposition party member in B.C.’s history to be passed into law.

Quotes:

"With so many diverse and innovative companies doing great work, B.C. is a fantastic place to invest. Companies that incorporate environmental and social considerations into their business models demonstrate that they have a long-term vision for their role in the province. Enacting Benefit Company legislation sends a signal to the business community that government supports companies that want to use their business as a force for good.”

  • Joel Solomon, Chair & Co-Founder, Renewal Funds

“The values of social and environmental responsibility inform everything we do at Keela. Building a company on these values sends a clear signal to our clients about what we stand for and demonstrates that our company is built to last. This legislation will encourage more BC companies to incorporate these values into their own business, empowering them to promote social and environmental change in our province."

  • Nejeed Kassam, CEO, Keela

“The proposed legislation will surely be welcomed by the growing community of impact investors in British Columbia. Benefit corporation status will give these investors additional confidence that social and environmental outcomes will be an integral and protected part of business decision-making.”

  • Norm Tasevski, Co-founder, Purpose Capital

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Media contact
+1 778-650-0597 | newsroom@bcgreens.ca

 

Backgrounder

  • A benefit company is profit driven but is committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility in addition to profit
  • Corporations are able to incorporate as a benefit company in over 30 US states
    • According to the non-profit B Lab, more than 5,000 companies have chosen to become benefit companies where legislation exists, and they’ve raised nearly $2 billion in capital
    • Notable benefit companies include Patagonia, Method Home Products, Plum Organics, Kickstarter, and Laureate Education
  • The choice to become a benefit company is voluntary and there are no tax benefits or impacts on other companies
  • The proposed amendment to the Business Corporations Act will create a new part that enables companies to become benefit companies under the Act. These companies will have to meet certain requirements, including:
    • Committing to operate in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner, and to promote specific public benefits
    • Reporting publicly against a 3rd party standard
  • If this legislation passes, BC would be the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow companies to incorporate as benefit companies
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