B Corporations: Worker-Owned Home Care Coops 1st In Their Industry

Filed under: Corporate Culture,Features,Management,Management Ethics |

Two home care agencies are taking the lead in publicly committing to the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profits—through their certification as B Corporations.

The Bronx-based Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) and Home Care Associates (HCA) of Philadelphia, two worker-owned, cooperative home care agencies, are the nation’s first home care companies to earn B Corporation certification.

In United States business law, benefit corporations or B Corporations, are a type of corporation required by law to create general benefit for society as well as for shareholders.

B Corporations must create a material positive impact on society and consider how their decisions affect their employees, community, and the environment. B Corporations must also publicly report their social and environmental performance using established third-party standards.

As of January 2013, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia had passed legislation allowing benefit corporations or B Corporations. Additionally, benefit corporation legislation had been introduced in the District of Columbia and the state of Washington has a form of a benefit corporation law.

Both CHCA and HCA are affiliated with the national nonprofit PHI http://phinational.org/ and share its “quality care through quality jobs” mission.

PHI, the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, works to improve eldercare and disability services, fostering dignity, respect, and independence — for all who receive care, and all who provide it. A leading authority on the direct-care workforce, PHI promotes quality direct-care jobs as the foundation for quality health care.

Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations make a public, legally enshrined commitment to considering the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment.

This is collectively referred to as the triple bottom line.

Both CHCA and HCA received certification scores of more than 150 out of a possible 200 points on the B Impact Assessment—nearly double the threshold required for certification.

This reflects the strong commitment of both organizations to having social impact—both in the lives of unemployed women trained for home care jobs and in the lives of the low-income elders and people with disabilities they serve.

“CHCA is proud to qualify as a B Corporation,” said CHCA Executive VP Adria Powell. “For more than 27 years, our cooperative has provided quality employment opportunities for low-income, unemployed individuals in our community.”

Karen Kulp, HCA president, adds, “Ultimately, becoming a B Corporation will help us to strengthen what we do best: providing high-quality jobs and worker ownership opportunities for low-income, unemployed women and ensuring quality care for residents throughout our city.”

The worker-owned cooperative home care companies join more than 650 B Corporations from more than 60 industries, representing a diverse multi-billion dollar marketplace.

B Lab a nonprofit dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, provides B Corporation certification.

“As the country grapples with the rapidly increasing demand for quality long-term services and supports in the home, CHCA and HCA are redefining what it means to be a successful health care business,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab cofounder. “Not only are these companies creating greater access to affordable, quality home care in low-income communities but they are also creating greater economic opportunity for their worker owners.”

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