John Montgomery has worked for many years to support the legal introduction of a new type of corporation, a B (or benefit) corporation, into state law throughout the US. A “B corporation” has the legal responsibility as a company to be of benefit to society and the environment, as well as to make a financial profit. John’s presentation focused on this work, and the nature of B Corporations, while also showing how this legal change is combining with 2 other key social developments, namely the cultural movement of Conscious Capitalism, and the scientific progress in neuroscience and human behavior, to facilitate a paradigm shift in the corporate world, enabling the development of more healthy, prosperous and responsible corporations, with better leadership, which embrace, promote and seek to realize social benefit and environmental sustainability along with also making a profit.
John provided a brief history of the corporation and the changes in their legal status since the 1700s, showing how their legal status has failed to adjust to their increasing importance and power within society, such that today they are literally almost solely responsible for shaping our human civilization, while legally being obliged only to make money.
John further argues that without the legal foundation of a B Corporation, while many corporations may start off with great leaders, ethical intentions and noble visions, when either leadership changes or internal crises occur, these corporations can quickly lose their good intentions, and regress to a money making survival mode. By writing socially beneficial values into a corporation’s legal foundation as a code of conduct with the status of law, he argues this regression is far less likely to ever occur.
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John Montgomery is an entrepreneur, executive coach, corporate attorney and author of Great from the Start, a step-by-step guide to building a successful conscious corporation. John is the founder of Montgomery & Hansen, LLP a B Corp certified corporate law firm. He is also the founder of Startworks, a Silicon Valley based technology incubator that develops start-ups to thrive in an interdependent global economy. He works primarily with high-potential entrepreneurial teams to help them translate their visions into successful companies. He was also a co-chair of the legal working group behind California’s new benefit corporation legislation.
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