I think this is especially true in the case of Etsy, which as the article points out, is registered as a B corporation and so arguably has agreement from the shareholders that benefiting society is part of the mandate of the company.
This argument of shareholders wanting to be ecologically conscious is such a privileged idea. The majority of money in the stock market doesn't come from the rich who can afford to be flippant with their stock returns. It comes from people relying on consistent equity appreciation so they can afford to retire.
We already know how to deal with negative externalities such as pollution. Evaluate how much it costs society and tax it accordingly.
I don't understand this, can it not be the case that the companies can 'afford' to keep polluting, even if paying the tax? Especially if pollution "cost on society" is relatively constant or not increasing according to profit. How is this cost on society determined, and what if I think that the cost is too high, even for taxation to deal with it?
This seems like a band aid on one of the problems inherent with the profit motive.
And Etsy isn't a B corporation. It's CEO tried to make it one and failed.
So it's temporary status doesn't belie the fact it's not going to be one and shouldn't be treated as one.
Here's what 3 minutes of googling indicates:
* most states have b corps
* most states that have b corps based them on the Model Benefit Act, drafted by B-Lab
* Delaware has b corps, but they are not based on the Model Benefit Act
* whether the Model Benefit Act was used affects all sorts of things (requirements, reporting, standards, decision makers, enforcement…)
So it seems fair to say that delaware has b corps, but they are not like the others.
If we go by your logic, then the only thing people are allowed to pool their money together for is to make the most money possible. Am I not allowed to incorporate a public company that has another purpose? A company is, and should be, controlled by the shareholders, since they are the owners. If those shareholders want to do something besides maximize their profits, they should be allowed to do that.
And then, when other people buy a controlling interest in your company, they are just as free to change it. Public companies do what a majority of their shareholders want, and people who buy stock are overwhelmingly interested in profit.
Their website says Etsy has been a certified B Corp since 2012: https://www.bcorporation.net/community/etsy