White paper: Should the Quebec government consider the social enterprise model in order to achieve a renewed capitalism?

The issue of the role of business in society is at the heart of current events. The context of economic recovery is prompting reflection on the role of companies in promoting social values and the renewal of capitalism. This white paper calls for legislative innovation in Quebec corporate law to create a new model for socially responsible businesses.

To date, this type of corporate structure, which combines the promotion of social values with profitability, has taken different forms in different jurisdictions. In Quebec, the time has come to think about a new business model whose core purpose is the promotion of social values.

It appears that the governments have an indispensable role to play in establishing a legal framework to enable companies to strengthen their commitments to society and all stakeholders.

First, this white paper discusses the various models of corporate structure that seek to reconcile the promotion of social values with profitability in certain jurisdictions in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and certain Canadian provinces. The authors point out how the emergence of a multitude of corporate forms combining profitability and social responsibility represents a timely opportunity for Quebec to draw inspiration from these models to make available a legal vehicle that would meet the needs of entrepreneurs in this regard.

The authors also raise the issue of business ethics and the concern that there may be a strong temptation for an opportunistic company to be ethical in name only when choosing a socially responsible corporate structure. Indeed, without binding legal instruments and reliable, uniform, and inexpensive analysis methods to allow for a real comparison, the risks of commodification and greenwashing are significant. The authors also suggest that companies should develop a raison d’être; such a project could mobilize all stakeholders, including employees, to prioritize the common good and the well-being of future generations, as well as create openness to ethical reflection.

The authors conclude by proposing the adoption of a new vehicle for Quebec businesses that will not only encourage them to take social and environmental issues into account, but add to the advantages of the Quebec jurisdiction when foreign investors are evaluating the opportunity to establish themselves in North America.

For more information, click here to download your copy of the white paper.

Up arrow Top of the page