“There’s a lot of negative feelings about capitalism right now,” says Kris Lin-Bronner who is the Strategic Advisor of Dr. Bronner’s. Her words are indicative of the wide-scale erosion of trust between companies and consumers. It seems that, time and again, we unearth ugly truths behind the products we’ve come to love and trust. Is this a result of capitalism itself or is it the way in which capitalism has evolved?
It’s a very difficult landscape for new companies to navigate today. Ever since the Revlon court ruling in 1986, in which courts ruled that the financial benefit of stockholders trumps all other company interests, responsibility has shifted away from maintaining the health of the company to maximizing shareholder value often regardless of social or environmental impacts. So, quarter by quarter, we see companies making decisions that compromise the efficacy of their intentions.
Benefit corporations offer a refuge from this system. It allows the founders to essentially incorporate their vision and give their higher-minded goals the armor to weather capital raises and leadership changes. Then, through the B Corp certification process—which is open to all businesses that meet certain standards, and not just benefit corporations—these companies can quantify and communicate their impact to their stakeholders, adding an additional layer of accountability and transparency.
In the end, only time will tell if capitalism is an inherently flawed system. But for now, we’re excited to participate in evolving the current paradigm before starting from scratch. At Guayaki, a twenty-one-year-old company, we have stewarded the restoration of over one-hundred thousand acres of rainforest in South America while cultivating relationships that empower local growers. Our hope is that this short film will create more awareness around the red circled “B” logo that is printed back of products for both customers trying to make informed buying decisions as well young entrepreneurs such as myself wary of falling into the trappings of modern business.
Directed by Cyrus Sutton
Produced by Annabel Pirrie and Charles Post
Edited by Jeremiah Flores
Director of Photography Julie Hotz
To learn more about Benefit Corporations visit – http://www.bcorporation.net
Companies profiled in this film
Guayaki Yerba Mate
Sustainable Law Group