Earlier this month, Louisiana became the first state in the South -- and the eighth across the nation -- to pass legislation allowing companies to incorporate as B Corps, or benefit corporations. It's a legal structure where a company puts as much focus on "doing good" as on making money.
To be certified as a B Corp, an entrepreneur has to meet very high standards in three silos: how you treat employees, impact the environment, and benefit the community in which your business operates.
The business structure was created and promoted by a Berwyn, Penn.-based non-profit B Lab. In states where it has been legalized, entrepreneurs can amend their legal framework to declare they're both a for-profit and for-good company. As a result, a business protects itself from lawsuits by stakeholders that find the company is spending time and/or resources for anything other than solely maximizing profit. Also, in any state, regardless of whether it is legal to become a B Corp yet, a company can apply for certification, a status granted by B Lab.
I sat down with B Lab's co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert, who explains what entrepreneurs need to know about this unique legal structure. Edited excerpts of the interview follow.