One of the more ambitious predictions in our list of the World Changing Ideas of 2014 is that we’ll seea public company become a benefit corporation in the next year. Plum Organics, a healthy baby food company, is paving the way. In 2013, the company became a benefit corporation–with the help of Campbell’s Soup, a public company that acquired Plum the same year.
Benefit corporations, which are becoming legal in a growing number of states, make it possible for companies to consider the impact of their actions on the environment, workers, and the community in addition to their impact on shareholders. They can pursue values-driven missions without worrying about getting sued. Hundreds of private companies throughout the U.S. are benefit corporations, and their ranks are growing quickly.
Now that the state of Delaware, the legal home of half of all publicly traded companies, has made benefit corporation status legal, it’s only a matter of time before a public company becomes a benefit corporation. Plum, the first benefit corporation under a public company umbrella, was one of the first organizations to become a benefit corporation in Delaware.
Plum has been a mission-driven organization since its launch in 2007. Created by a small group of parents that wanted to change the way kids eat, Plum is guided by three core beliefs: healthy food is the future of food (Plum incorporates ingredients like kale, quinoa, and butternut squash into its products), modern parents require modern solutions–in this case, baby food options outside of the two brands that have dominated the industry for decades– and business can be a source for change in the world.
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