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Bringing the B to Baltimore: Using B Corporations as a New Tool for Economic Development

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Empowering local companies to improve returns to all of their stakeholders -- and not just their shareholders -- could yield significant benefits for Baltimore City.

Can a company be profitable and do right by its people, community, and the environment? Yes. Can growing those kinds of companies be good for our city and its people? Absolutely.

This Abell Report calls on city leaders in Baltimore to increase their focus on those local companies and suggests the adoption of the B Corporation or “B Corp” framework to support those efforts.

Bringing the B to Baltimore: Using B Corporations as a New Tool for Economic Development argues that empowering local companies to improve returns to all of their stakeholders – and not just their shareholders – could yield significant benefits for Baltimore City. Indeed, the authors make the case that improving the standards for local business actually would help the City achieve its existing economic development goals.

Written by Council Fire, a global management and sustainability consultancy, the report explains the rationale behind B Corps and lays out the B Corp Framework, a toolkit that companies can use to self-measure their work on a range of indicators of leadership, employment, consumer, community, and environmental practices. It also highlights some leading Maryland companies that have taken advantage of the B Corp framework and what that experience has looked like.

Maryland and our business community has a history of leadership in the efforts to promote this type of economic development.  In 2010, Maryland became the first state in the nation to pass a statute creating “benefit corporations,” thus allowing new and existing companies to register as such by incorporating “public purposes” into their articles and bylaws, and filing or re-filing their founding documents with the state.  

Access full Abell Report here.