Can a Corporation have Moral Values?
I’ve been working with Portland’s software industry, trying to help them advise the city government on new economic policies that could support growth.
As I listened to the software community, what struck me was the importance of values in defining policy. What my city’s software developers want is not just a policy that supports the economics of the industry, but also the values of the industry – in other words, the members’ personal values.
Values define a community – that’s why there’s no such thing as an amoral community.
However, when the US Supreme Court gave the rights of personhood to corporations, they didn’t take into account that most corporations value just one thing: profit.
B Corporations are corporations which have been certified as meeting standards for social and environmental standards, as well as integrity in protecting stakeholder interests. Their legal structure promotes accountability, rather than resists it. Consumers know that when they support a B corporation they’re supporting their own community values.
It’s like an ISO9000 for humanity.
I’ve always been against giving personhood to corporations. But since that’s the case, let’s see corporations act like real people, with values and a community. Telling us they care doesn’t cut it – we’ve had it up to here with “we care” ads. The B Corporation Certification tells us that a company is walking the walk.