On December 1st The Road Less Traveled, Life Changing Travel™ for students 12-19, became the 12th company in Illinois to become “B-Certified.” Our hope for the New Year is to be at the door of the Illinois Secretary of State in downtown Chicago, January 2nd, and also become the first designated “Benefit Corporation” in Illinois.
A Benefit Corp is a deliberate effort to change the nature of business by changing corporate law. Benefit Corporation legislation creates the legal framework to enable mission driven companies like ours to stay mission-driven. Chicago Tribune states that Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, introduced the bill in the Senate after a Republican constituent brought the legislation to his attention. “It was important that corporations can have other missions, other than just maximizing shareholder value….” Alumni parent, Senator Heather Steans also sponsored the Bill in Illinois.
When we created The Road Less Traveled decades ago, our founding philosophy was to “Do No Harm” and share our commitment to social and environmental issues with young people around the world. It was and continues to be the foundation upon which we have built our company. Benefit Corporation legislation makes our mission explicit in its legal structure institutionalizing the values, culture, processes and high standards we put in place 22 years ago as founding entrepreneurs. What this means is that we can now ensure our work will continue in the spirit in which it was intended…. and “Do No Harm” – well beyond our lifetime.
As the Harvard Business Review states “With certification, … companies from 18 countries across 60 different industries are working toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business.“ B Corps legal framework will allow The Road Less Traveled to remain true to our values, through succession, capital raises and generations to come.
According to the New York Times, “about 650 companies have embraced the (certification) status so far, including Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, and Etsy, the e-commerce site for craft entrepreneurs and most recently, Ben & Jerry’s…” The Road Less Traveled is honored to become a part of this group of socially conscious companies, and lead the charge for businesses to use their resources for good.
The thousands of alumni students who have ventured on The Road Less Traveled will be leading the charge into the future with the B Corp, demanding that those they work for, and with, conduct their businesses with thought and conscience. This has always been our ultimate work and dream — for Road Less Traveled teen students to see and believe in themselves and their individual and collective abilities to impact and shape our world and the future of the 21st century. Our hope is that they will create a future for their children and their children’s children that ensures businesses are purpose driven, believe in corporate social responsibility and are conducted as if people and place matter.