Today I found a term I’d never seen before — benefit corporation. There’s an interesting article about them in Briefing: Small Business in Time magazine, March 21, 2015. And it has to be important, because there’s also a Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benefit_corporation).
Yes, a benefit corporation is out to make a profit, but is also trying to create a public benefit, as in “a material positive impact on society and the environment.” (Wikipedia) There have always been corporations with social consciences (Ben & Jerry’s), but now there is a legal structure to make such strategies meaningful. Time magazine claims there are now more than 1200 such corporations, most of them in the U.S. , where they are regulated by 26 states. To be certified, companies must be audited yearly in areas like governance, employment practices, community performance, and environmental impact.