Learn more about our choice to become a Benefit corporation and what it means to our members and our local community.
High Vibe Society was going to be a cooperative at first.
There were grand ideas of community, organic coffee, minimal showering, shared trials as well as triumphs, and everyone holding hands in a circle and singing at the end of the day:
Just kidding, we all know that's not what co-ops are about!
Let's get real though:
In consideration of both the infancy of the company and of the social climate of the area, incorporating as a cooperative would've never worked. There are too many unknowns at this point...and way too much opportunity for people to drop the ball for a powder day.
After much research and consideration, it turns out the company would fair better as a Benefit corporation. Now many of you may be afraid of that "c" word... especially you activists... but hear me out:
Unlike a regular corporation which has to maximize profits above all else, a Benefit corporation has to prioritize it's benefit purposes above its financial goals.
For example, if a company that is doing fairly well is approached by "someone" to buy the business and is offered a reasonable amount, a corporation would have to take the money regardless of whether or not they want to. Look what happened to Annies. A Benefit corporation, however, can tell that "someone" to take a hike, because they have more important things to worry about (like reaching their benefit goals).
After the first year in business, a Benefit corporation can actually be certified as a B-corp by a third-party (the most well-known being B-Lab) where they must produce an annual public report to show how they are doing. The report keeps the company accountable and transparent. The largest company and most well known Benefit corporation is Patagonia. You can read their latest annual report, here.
So what are our benefit purposes?
1. Cultural Development: to socially and economically empower local artisans by offering them a platform for collaborative design and storytelling to exhibit their work to the world.
2. Community Responsibility: to inspire social and environmental change that results in the improvement of the human condition, increased social consciousness, and greater community ethics.
3. 2% for the Community: to contribute 2% of our annual profits to a non-profit that socially or environmentally benefits our local or regional community. Check out our recent sponsorship with Keep Tahoe Blue.
4. Transparency: to provide information to customers and members through our website about our work's social & environmental impacts.
Additionally, members will still have a large stake in what goes on in our organization through a board that votes on member-related issues. Without our members and our community, this business would not be able to exist!
So you see, we're still staying true to our roots...just with a little less patchouli.