An office building with trees, green grass and blue sky.

Delaware Public Benefit Corporation (PBC)

A. Definition of a Public Benefit Corporation A Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) is a type of corporation that is legally obligated to pursue social or environmental goals in addition to maximizing profits for shareholders. Unlike traditional corporations, which prioritize financial returns above all else, PBCs aim to balance profit-making with social impact.

B. Advantages of Forming a PBC Forming a PBC offers several advantages, including enhanced brand reputation, attracting socially conscious investors, and legal protection for pursuing social goals. By operating as a PBC, businesses can align their operations with their values and contribute positively to society while still generating profits.

C. Overview of the Process in Delaware Delaware is a popular choice for forming a PBC due to its favorable legal framework and established corporate law precedents. The process of forming a PBC in Delaware involves several steps, from drafting the Certificate of Incorporation to fulfilling ongoing compliance requirements. Understanding this process is essential for entrepreneurs seeking to establish a PBC in Delaware effectively.

Resource Links

1. Delaware Division of Corporations. This page provides detailed information on business formations, including how to form a PBC in Delaware. It includes links to necessary forms and filing instructions.
Delaware Division of Corporations

2. Delaware Public Benefit Corporation FAQs. A resource that answers frequently asked questions about Public Benefit Corporations in Delaware, providing guidance on legal requirements and reporting obligations.
Public Benefit Corporation FAQs

Understanding Public Benefit Corporations

A. What sets PBCs apart from traditional corporations? PBCs differ from traditional corporations primarily in their legal obligations. While traditional corporations prioritize maximizing shareholder value, PBCs must balance profit-making with achieving a specified public benefit. This distinction reflects a broader shift towards corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.

B. Legal requirements and obligations To maintain their status as a PBC, companies must meet certain legal requirements and obligations. These may include adopting a specific public benefit purpose, reporting on their social or environmental impact, and adhering to transparency standards. By fulfilling these obligations, PBCs demonstrate their commitment to serving the greater good.

C. Mission-driven focus and social impact goals One of the defining features of PBCs is their mission-driven focus and commitment to social impact goals. Whether addressing environmental sustainability, social equity, or community development, PBCs aim to create positive change through their business activities. This focus distinguishes them from conventional corporations and attracts stakeholders who share their values.

Choosing Delaware as Your PBC’s Home

A. Why Delaware? Delaware is widely regarded as a favorable jurisdiction for corporate entities, offering a business-friendly environment, well-established corporate law, and specialized courts for resolving corporate disputes. These factors make Delaware an attractive choice for entrepreneurs seeking to form a PBC.

B. Legal framework and regulations Delaware’s legal framework provides clarity and flexibility for PBCs, allowing them to pursue their public benefit mission while still operating within established corporate law principles. Additionally, Delaware offers statutory protections for directors and officers of PBCs, providing reassurance to those involved in the company’s governance.

C. Tax implications Understanding the tax implications of forming a PBC in Delaware is crucial for entrepreneurs. While Delaware imposes certain taxes and fees on corporations, the overall tax burden may vary depending on the company’s structure and activities. Consulting with tax professionals can help PBC founders navigate these complexities and optimize their tax strategy.

Steps to Forming a PBC in Delaware

A. Pre-Incorporation Considerations

  1. Crafting your public benefit statement: Before incorporating, it’s essential to define your PBC’s public benefit purpose clearly. This statement outlines the specific social or environmental goals your company aims to achieve and guides its mission-driven activities.
  2. Identifying directors and officers: Selecting directors and officers who align with your PBC’s values and mission is crucial. These individuals will be responsible for guiding the company’s strategic direction and ensuring it remains committed to its public benefit purpose.
  3. Drafting bylaws: Bylaws establish the internal rules and procedures governing your PBC’s operations. In addition to standard corporate governance provisions, they may include provisions related to the company’s public benefit purpose, decision-making processes, and accountability mechanisms.

B. Filing the Certificate of Incorporation

  1. Required information: The Certificate of Incorporation is the formal document filed with the Delaware Secretary of State to establish your PBC. It must include basic information about the company, such as its name, registered agent, business address, and public benefit purpose.
  2. Optional provisions: In addition to the required information, PBCs may choose to include optional provisions in their Certificate of Incorporation. These provisions can clarify the company’s public benefit purpose, establish governance mechanisms, or outline procedures for assessing and reporting on social or environmental impact.
  3. Filing process and fees: Filing the Certificate of Incorporation with the Delaware Secretary of State involves completing the necessary forms, paying the required filing fee, and submitting the documents electronically or by mail. Once filed, the Secretary of State will review the documents and issue a Certificate of Incorporation upon approval.

C. Organizational Meeting and Initial Actions

  1. Appointing directors and officers: Following approval of the Certificate of Incorporation, the initial directors named in the document must hold an organizational meeting to appoint officers, adopt bylaws, and take other necessary actions to formalize the company’s structure.
  2. Adopting bylaws: At the organizational meeting, the board of directors should adopt bylaws to govern the company’s operations. Bylaws typically address matters such as board composition, officer roles and responsibilities, meeting procedures, and decision-making processes.
  3. Establishing a governance structure: Establishing a robust governance structure is essential for ensuring accountability and transparency in your PBC’s operations. This may include implementing mechanisms for regular reporting on social or environmental impact, conducting periodic assessments of the company’s performance against its public benefit purpose, and engaging stakeholders in decision-making processes.

Ongoing Compliance and Reporting Requirements

A. Annual reporting obligations

  1. PBCs in Delaware are required to submit an annual report to the Delaware Secretary of State, which includes information about the company’s activities, financial performance, and progress towards its public benefit purpose.
  2. This report provides an opportunity for PBCs to demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and transparency by documenting their efforts to create positive social or environmental impact.

B. Accountability and transparency standards

  1. PBCs are held to higher accountability and transparency standards compared to traditional corporations. This includes disclosing information about their public benefit purpose, impact assessment methodologies, and stakeholder engagement efforts.
  2. By adhering to these standards, PBCs can build trust with investors, customers, employees, and other stakeholders who value ethical and responsible business practices.

C. Impact reporting and assessment

  1. Impact reporting involves measuring and reporting on the social or environmental outcomes of a PBC’s activities. This may include metrics such as carbon emissions reduced, community outreach initiatives implemented, or diversity and inclusion measures undertaken.
  2. Impact assessment entails evaluating the effectiveness of the company’s efforts to achieve its public benefit purpose and identifying areas for improvement. By regularly assessing their impact, PBCs can ensure they are making meaningful progress towards their social or environmental goals.

Additional Resources

Here are some useful Delaware government websites for additional information on forming a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC):

1. Certificate of Incorporation for Public Benefit Corporations. This link directs you to the official form for filing a Certificate of Incorporation for a Public Benefit Corporation in Delaware.

2. Delaware Code Online – Public Benefit Corporations. Access the specific sections of the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL) that pertain to Public Benefit Corporations.
Delaware Code – Public Benefit Corporations

3. Delaware Secretary of State – Business Services**: The main page for the Delaware Secretary of State’s business services, offering a range of resources for businesses, including PBCs.
Delaware Secretary of State – Business Services

These resources should provide comprehensive information and guidance on forming and maintaining a Public Benefit Corporation in Delaware.


A. Recap of the benefits of forming a PBC in Delaware

  1. Forming a PBC in Delaware offers numerous benefits, including legal protection, favorable tax treatment, and enhanced reputation as a socially responsible business.

B. Final tips and considerations for aspiring PBC founders

  1. Aspiring PBC founders should carefully consider their public benefit purpose, governance structure, and reporting mechanisms to ensure alignment with their values and mission.

C. Encouragement to pursue socially responsible business endeavors

  1. The rise of PBCs reflects a growing recognition of the importance of businesses in addressing pressing social and environmental challenges. By forming a PBC in Delaware, entrepreneurs can harness the power of business to create positive change and make a meaningful impact on society.

By following the steps outlined in this guide and embracing the principles of corporate social responsibility, aspiring PBC founders can establish successful businesses that not only generate profits but also contribute to the greater good.

author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar. Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications. Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: Phone: 972-776-4050

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  Information provided on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to offer legal advice specific to your business needs. If you need legal advice, you should consult with an attorney. Rankings and reviews are the personal opinions of the authors and/or editors. For questions, while starting a business, we recommend consulting with an attorney or accountant.