Actualidad Colombia

Creation of Benefit Corporations

Bill to create BICs

The Bill to create “Collective Benefit & Interest” companies (BIC) in the private sector is currently going through Colombia’s Congress. These are equivalent to what is known in the US as “benefit corporations” and any firm will be able to adopt this company structure if it wishes to be identified as a company that pursues not only profits for its shareholders, but also to protect the interest of the local community and the environment.

This would give official recognition to a new purpose for companies, by underpinning their business model with new standards relating to governance, employees, the environment and the community.

To achieve BIC classification, the mission statement of for-profit firms must include the following:

  1.       Ethical wages for employees and an analysis of their wage spread.
  2.       Subsidised professional training and development for employees and professional redeployment programmes for them.
  3.       Share options for employees .
  4.       Possibilities for flexi- and tele-working without impact on employees’ wages.
  5.       Job options for the structurally unemployed.
  6.       Increased diversity in the composition of the board of directors, administrative teams, executives and the company’s other management bodies.
  7.       Local sourcing of goods and services.
  8.       Annual environmental audits.

Firms that are set up as BIC companies must also submit an impact report to the Annual General Meeting on the collective benefit and interest activities developed by the company.

Furthermore, the Bill stipulates that BIC companies will be subject to inspection and oversight from the Companies Authority.


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