In Latin America, the B Corp movement is expanding rapidly. With more than 100 certified B Corps and a presence in Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, Sistema B (B Lab South America) is gathering momentum.
Of note are the recent developments in Argentina. On 17 February 2016, a draft law for B Corps (or “Empresas B” in Spanish) was put before the Argentinian Congress: the “ley de Sociedades de Beneficio e Interes Colectivo” or “BIC”.
The draft includes: (i) a broadening of a company’s purposes, to include a commitment to the triple bottom line, that is, that a company will exist not only to generate profits but also to create a positive social and environmental impact; (ii) a broadening of the company’s directors’ duties, so that directors are obliged to think about the medium and long term interests of the company’s stakeholders; and (iii) an annual reporting requirement.
The new legislation is considered necessary in Argentina because it is believed that “positive legislation” will create a new legal framework under which B Corps can be created and will embed the “triple bottom line” in B Corps. It should distinguish B Corps from traditional companies, which are set up to make a profit for their shareholders, and will also distinguish B Corps from not-for-profits. It is also considered important that directors of B Corps have certainty around their duties, and that this is enshrined in legislation, protecting the directors and the company. It is also anticipated that the creation of new legislation will contribute to and strengthen the cultural change that is happening with B Corps globally.