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Questionable benefits: Virtue signalling CEOs

May 17. 2017 9:43PM

One of the sillier provisions in New Hampshire law is causing confusion for Granite State businesses.

In 2014, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill authorizing businesses to incorporate as “benefit corporations.” B Corps promise that they aren’t in business just to make money. They exist to make the world a better place.

The law allows companies to wallow in self-righteous dross, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Businesses are free to tout how much good they do for their communities. But there was never any point for the Legislature to write a marketing gimmick into state law.

New Hampshire Business Review reports that of the 55 benefit corporations that have signed up under the designation, more than two dozen haven’t filed the required public annual benefit report.

This is basically a news release saying what good corporate citizens the B Corps have been. And many more haven’t been around long enough to hit the reporting deadline. It turns out that some of those businesses signed up as B Corps by mistake.

Companies like Stonyfield Yogurt and W.S. Badger have built their social consciousness into their brand identity. B Corp status is just virtue signalling with no more significance than a novelty license plate.

The benefit corporation law adds an unnecessary and confusing step to New Hampshire’s already overregulated business climate. It should be repealed.

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