SPRINGFIELD, IL - Businesses in Illinois that wish to
incorporate societal and environmental impacts in decision-making would
gain new legal protections under a new bill sponsored by State Senator
Michael Frerichs (D - Champaign).
"This measure allows business
executives to make decisions that may benefit the community or the
environment and remove the risk of lawsuits for those decisions,"
Frerichs said. "Current law does not shield companies from certain
litigation that may be brought about from a company making financial
decisions with the consideration of outside stakeholders."
Bill 2897 allows businesses to register with the State as "benefit
corporations." According to the measure, benefit corporations must
provide stakeholders with an annual report of the social and
environmental impact of the business. Included in that report, the
company must provide how the company sought specific public benefit and
any hindrance to that public benefit.
The measure passed through
the Senate today and moves to the House for further consideration. If
signed into law, Illinois would be the eighth state to recognize benefit
corporations. Currently, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, Vermont, New
Jersey, New York and California have similar laws.