18th February, 2021
Community and Environment Focused Corporates
Commitment to community and the environment is becoming more important in our daily lives.
It is worth taking time to consider the options available whether you are starting a new venture or operating an established business. These can be both personal and commercial, as a differentiator to drive custom, recruitment and investment.
Community Interest Company (CIC)
A limited liability company designed for social enterprises wanting to use their profits and assets for the public good. A CIC has the specific aim of providing benefit to a community and must use its income, assets, and profits for the community it is formed to serve not for its directors or shareholders.
A CIC needs to register with the Regulator of CICs and issue a statement to satisfy the community interest test on incorporation and in each annual return. It has a standard form constitution which includes restrictions on dividends and dealings with the CIC assets. Directors can be paid a salary, subject to review in line with the community interest.
A limited liability company established for exclusively charitable purposes. It must include in its governing documents an objects clause stating the charitable purposes that it is established to pursue.
A charitable company is registered with and subject to regulation by the Charities Commission. It cannot distribute profits to members or deal with its assets other than for charitable purposes. Whist directors of a charity can be remunerated, this is subject to scrutiny in accordance with its charitable purpose.
A business which has been awarded a B Corp certification by the not-for profit organisation B Lab. Available in the US since 2007 and launched in the UK in 2015, it is becoming increasingly popular, with brands such as Ben & Jerrys, Patagonia, JoJo Maman Bebe and Innocent Drinks achieving certification.
No specific legal structure is required, a business just needs to include a commitment in its governing documents to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members and through its business and operations to have a material positive impact on society and the environment taken as a whole. When making decisions, it will be required to consider its social and environmental impact not just profit maximisation.
For more information please contact Charlotte Butler, Senior Associate.
Corporate & Commercial
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