Benefit Corporation Law and Governance: Pursuing Profit with Purpose

Benefit Corporation Law and Governance: Pursuing Profit with Purpose

by Rick Alexander


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Benefit Corporation Law and Governance: Pursuing Profit with Purpose by Rick Alexander

Benefit Corporation Law and Governance
Pursuing Profit with Purpose

Corporations today are embedded in a system of shareholder primacy. Nonfinancial concerns—like worker well-being, environmental impact, or community health—are secondary to the imperative to maximize share price. As a result, businesses can “succeed” while contributing to serious problems like climate risk, social instability, and economic decline. This sets us up for failure over the long term, as private enterprise continues to threaten vital resources.

But there is a new form of governance—the benefit corporation—that reorients corporations so that they work for the interests of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. There are already 5,000 benefit corporations in the United States, and venture capitalists, private equity firms, and institutions are beginning to invest. This is the first authoritative guide to the rules that govern this new and expanding form of governance.

Distinguished corporate lawyer Frederick H. Alexander describes the stranglehold that shareholder primacy has on our current legal and financial systems. He then provides a comprehensive description of the alternative. Benefit corporations expand corporate purpose and extend the obligations of corporate managers to include the interests of all stakeholders. Alexander describes the two existing benefit corporation models and details how current relations are transformed when organizations adopt stakeholder governance. He also looks at some unsuccessful precursors to benefit corporations and why they failed.

The book is an invaluable guide for legal and financial professionals, as well as interested entrepreneurs and investors who want to understand how purposeful corporate governance can be put into practice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781523083589
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/16/2017
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Frederick H. Alexander is head of legal policy at B Lab and counsel at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. He prepared the initial drafts of the Delaware benefit corporation law and the American Bar Association’s white paper on benefit corporations. He has been recognized as one of the ten most highly regarded corporate governance lawyers worldwide and was previously selected as Delaware Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year and Delaware Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year.