Wisconsin Joins the “B” Business Revolution

The state of Wisconsin is on the verge of joining the ranks of 33 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing the formation of “Benefit Corporations,” for-profit organizations whose missions include benefiting society and the environment.   B Local Wisconsin, a new group of forward-looking businesses and non-profit organizations, will gather in downtown Madison on February 26th to announce the launching of Wisconsin’s new Benefit Corporation legislation.

Speaking on behalf of those organizations will be State Assembly Representative Chris Taylor, Representative Dianne Hesselbein, Patrick Berry of Boardman & Clark, and Brian Anderson of DeWitt, Ross & Stevens. They will highlight the need for and advantages of Benefit Corporations, which include attracting and retaining employees, customers, and investors who share Benefit Corporation social and environmental values.

Several leading-edge Wisconsin businesses, called Certified B Corps, have already been certified by the international non-profit organization B Lab for their attention to social and environmental issues.  They include Yumbutter, Just Coffee Co-op, Whole Trees, Cricket Design Works, and Artisan Dental, all in Madison, and BoxLatch in Pewaukee. They have joined an ever-increasing number of certified businesses worldwide, including Patagonia, Ben and Jerry’s, Etsy, Natura, Kickstarter, Method, and Stonyfield.  If the experience of other states who have passed Benefit Corporation legislation is predictive, Wisconsin may see upward of 100 for-profit business organizations become part of the “B movement” in the very near future.

Summing up the positive trends, Mary Stelletello of Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, the state’s first Certified B Corp, observed, “The acceleration of Certified B Corps, the launching of the B Local Wisconsin movement, and the passing of Benefit Corporation legislation are signs that the winds of creating a more inclusive and sustainable state economy are strengthening.”

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting or joining this effort should contact Mark Starik, Founder of Always Be Sustaining, a soon-to-be Wisconsin Benefit Corporation, and Co-Chair of B Local Wisconsin, at mark.starik@gmail.com, or by calling 240-644-7842.  B Local Wisconsin gratefully thanks the following non-profit organizations for their support of the “B movement”:  Sustain Dane, Dane Buy Local, Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, the University of Wisconsin Force for Positive Change, and the Doyenne Group.

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