March 29, 2019

Cross Border Social Enterprises and Social Responsibility: Benefit Corporations, Social Enterprises, and Corporate Social Responsibility in the States and Canada

Globally, the question about how business is done (and profits are earned and should be distributed or redistributed) vis a vis how we exist and interact with each other as a society has risen to the forefront. This inquiry is more than just political. In the United States, we daily live the with debate about how: (1) we pay for health care, (2) we deal with the loss of jobs caused by innovation, (3) we grapple with regulation on business in order to combat climate change, and (4) we govern and tax ourselves in order to pay for the goods and services that are delivered to us by our federal, state, and local governments. These questions are front and center almost daily given the current political climate in the United States. While elected or would be elected officials debate these issues, the average American citizen – either a worker or business owner/investor (or anyone in between) -- grapples with how to earn money to pay for everything from basic human needs to luxury items to retirement. The production of income either through active activities (goods or services delivered in exchange for compensation) or passive activities (the investment of capital into the income earning activities of others with an expectation of a return of the capital investment plus profit) occupies brain space in every citizen of the United States who works for a living, interacts with the world through social media, consumes goods and services, depends on entitlements, or is saving or living for or through retirement. So, whether they know it or not, both United States law makers and average citizens grapple with the role and place profit making businesses play in both the personal and private lives of everyone.

Presumably in response to these questions, in August 2018, now presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act (see attached proposed Accountable Capitalism Act), which requires very large corporations to adopt a federal charter that requires those corporations to consider the interests of not just their shareholders, but also other corporate stakeholders, including employees, customers, the environment, and the community. The other key provision requires that employees elect at least 40% of the board of directors.

Premium Content For:
  • Business Law Section
  • CL1903SPR - 2019 Business Law Section Spring Meeting