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Benefit Corporations: Making a Profit While Doing Good?


Benefit corporations, also known as “B corps,” are changing what it means to be a socially responsible business. 20 states have passed laws that recognize benefit corporations as businesses that make a commitment to 

doing good while still making a profit. And in April 2012, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a measure that gives benefit corporations an incentive to apply for city contracts.

What is behind the growing interest in benefit corporations from investors, employees and policy makers? How are B corps like Method cleaning products and Numi Tea combining profits with a concern for the environment? What do consumers need to know about benefit corporations? Guest host Victoria Thorp and a panel of experts, including David Chiu of the SF Board of Supervisors, explore benefit corporations and how they could make a difference in the Bay Area.

Producer: Victoria Thorp


David Chiu, President, San Francisco Board of Supervisors

David was elected in November 2008 to represent San Francisco's District 3, which includes North Beach, Chinatown, Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill, Polk Street, Nob Hill, Union Square, and the Financial District. In January 2009, David was elected President of the Board of Supervisors and in April 2012, he led the effort to pass a successful measure that gives benefit corporations an incentive to apply for city contracts in San Francisco. Before joining the Board, David was a founder and Chief Operating Officer of Grassroots Enterprise, an online communications technology company. He has also worked as a criminal prosecutor at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and as a civil rights attorney at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. David Chiu received his undergraduate degree, law degree, and master's degree in public policy from Harvard University.

Dermot Hikisch, Head of Community Development, B Lab

B Lab is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves a global movement of entrepreneurs who are using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Dermot leads B Lab's efforts to grow the community of Certified B Corporations across the country and is also involved in implementing GIIRS, the Global Impact Investment Rating System. Dermot is the former Head of Research for UK-based ENDS Carbon and Wind Power Intelligence and fought forest fires for nearly a decade. He has a MSc. in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Sweden.

Matt Bauer, President and Co-Founder, Better World Telecom

In the $500 billion US telecom industry, BetterWorld Telecom is the only triple bottom line carrier focused solely on serving organizations with social and sustainable missions, and is the only telecom company in the US that has been certified as a b corporation by B Lab. Before co-founding BetterWorld Telecom in 2003, Matt served in a series of leadership roles in the telecommunications and power industries. Matt holds a BA in Telecommunications from Indiana University and MBA from George Washington University.

Read more about Better World Telecom's b corp certification here.

Learn more about Tech Soup, which was mentioned during the show.