Are alternative business models the wave of the future?

Often businesses cringe when the words “new law” are spoken. But a wave of new laws in several states will provide opportunities for businesses to pursue profit while also serving the public good. So-called “B Corporations” are businesses that allow boards to place public benefit ahead of profits.

According to the Wall Street Journal,a law passed in California (and became effective on January 1) will allow businesses to create B Corps as alternative business models, and New York has followed suit. There is even a website – Benefit Corp Information Center – which provides information for businesses interested in becoming B corps.

In England, politicians are studying the John Lewis Partnership, which is owned by the staff, as a model for good governance. The Financial Times points to the case of American Airlines as an example of where the bottom-up model was not effective. This idea is not new. The Green Bay Packers organization has been owned by the residents of the city for decades.


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