Balancing Purpose and Profit: Legal mechanisms to lock in social mission for “profit with purpose” businesses across the G8

Orrick, UnLtd, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Year: 2014

Across the world, attitudes are changing. Old certainties about tightly defined roles for government, civil society and business are dissolving. Charities and non-profits are becoming more business-like, and business is looking ever more to delivering sustainable value. The Deloitte Millennials Report in 2013 showed that young people believe that the number one purpose of business is to benefit society, and the 2014 report showed that fifty per cent want to work for a business with ethical practices.

A number of countries have already created the legal mechanisms to allow for an intermediate type of enterprise, trading for social mission and with most or all profit reinvested into that social mission. Sometimes called social enterprises or solidarity enterprises, these businesses are delivering social impact in exciting ways.

This report provides an analysis of the starting point for legal and regulatory systems in each of the G8 countries. We are deeply grateful to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe for providing pro-bono legal services to create this vital foundation upon which new developments can be built to improve the opportunities for profit-with-purpose businesses.

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Table of Contents:

Executive Summary
Case Studies
United Kingdom
United States