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B CORPS IN SOUTH AMERICA

B Lab has exported its brand abroad. Sistema B is the South American equivalent / partner of B Lab and certifies B Corps there. Sistema B is based in Chile but has certified companies in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina. According to a blog post on B Lab’s website, B Lab is also working to replicate itself in Australia and in Europe.

My brief thoughts from the nonprofit perspective: Many countries have a different take on charities and NGOs than the U.S. does. Some do not allow NGOs to engage in any business activities and nonprofit status is available only for traditional charities. In the U.S., the IRS scrutinizes entities that apply for tax-exemption and have activities of a “commerical hue.” Nonetheless, under U.S. tax law, tax-exempt organizations are allowed to engage in business activities to a certain extent. It may be that countries that do not have a dynamic nonprofit sector (i.e., one that does not allow for hybrid operations or charitable activities beyond traditional concepts of “charity”) could benefit from B Corp certification, and perhaps even benefit from benefit corporation or other hybrid entity legislation.

-AP

 

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