Oliver Russell’s 2016 Public Benefit Report

By Russ Stoddard / Aug 15, 2017

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What business does a business have creating public benefit?

In Oliver Russell’s case, it IS our business to create public benefit.

Two years ago this month, Oliver Russell became Idaho’s first public benefit corporation when the state enacted this legislation. With this new status, our purpose is explicitly and legally to create public benefit. We are no longer required to singularly maximize shareholder value; we now have a legal charter enabling us to create positive social and environmental change alongside financial profit.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re a branding and marketing firm. We need to do good work, keep our clients satisfied, and financial profit is still to our company’s health; it creates a resource base that enables us to provide progressive compensation and benefits, pursue new growth opportunities, reward shareholders, and—AND—pursue our public benefit mission in the communities we serve.

Annual Reports

Annual Public Benefit Report

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  • This new status as a public benefit corporation also requires us to produce a public benefit report that details the specific public benefit we create each year. (Rather than an obligation, we look at it as an honor to showcase our work here.) The Idaho legislation categorizes public benefit as including a number of intentional business activities:

    • Providing beneficial products and services for low-income or underserved individuals or communities
    • Promoting economic opportunity for individuals or communities beyond the creation of jobs in the normal course of business
    • Protecting and restoring the environment
    • Improving human health
    • Promoting the arts, sciences or advancement of knowledge
    • Increasing the flow of capital to entities with a purpose to benefit society of the environment     
    • Conferring any other particular benefit on society or the environment
    Annual Report Stats

    Oliver Russell’s 2016 Public Benefit Report—the second we have now produced as a benefit corporation—highlights our work in a number of areas. Here are a few highlights:

    • We increased the number of purpose-driven companies—organizations with a product, service, or business model that benefits society—to 83% of our overall client base.
    • The Oliver Russell team volunteered for more than 150 hours in our community, and seven of our employees traveled to the Dominican Republic for a week of service work.
    • We improved the portion of our work contributing to underserved populations, boosting it to 33% of our total billings.

    If you’d like to spend a couple of minutes more fully exploring the public benefit we created last year, you can view our report here. We believe the results affirm our belief that there can be a higher purpose for business that includes social, environmental, and financial profit.

    So go ahead, give it a look, and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.

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    Russ Stoddard

    Russ started Oliver Russell in 1991. He’s committed his career (nearly 30 years) to social responsibility, first inside the corporate world and then as an entrepreneur who’s started four companies and five nonprofit causes. Russ is the author of "Rise Up - How to Build a Socially Conscious Business," and his creative work has been honored with local, regional, and national creative awards. These days, Russ focuses on brand strategy for clients, spreading the Certified B Corp love, and connecting kindred spirits to multiply social impact.