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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Companies are increasingly expected to provide innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges as part of their business activity. But do they have the leeway to do so? Since 2010, new legal forms have appeared in several countries, which show that the legal conditions to protect CSR initiatives are not always met. By defining social or environmental “purposes” in their charters, these new “profit-with-purpose corporations” (PPCs) commit the corporation toward purposes that are not primarily driven by a profit-maximization perspective, even if they do not exclude profit. This chapter reviews these forms, analyses their motivations, and proposes a model of PPCs. It discusses the theoretical scope of PPCs as a new legal design framework designed to support CSR initiatives, and opens avenues for new lines of research.

Keywords: Profit-with-purpose corporations, benefit corporations, corporate law, corporate purpose, social responsibility, corporate governance

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