Legal Obligations for Social Purpose Companies

According to Purism:

SPCs are required to publish an annual Social Purpose report to provide transparency to the public, and we’re looking forward to publishing ours in addition to our regular news updates, highlighting how our activities reflect our official social purpose. (Purism, May 2017)

Where can we find the annual Social Purpose reports? Asking for a friend.

It is supposed to include details such as

financial, operating, or other measures used by the corporation during the fiscal year for evaluating its performance in achieving its social purpose or purposes.


u/Jaylittle on reddit submitted a complaint to Washington state about it. Interesting to see what comes out of that.

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While I’m mildly curious how that plays out I suspect a few things.

First, I suspect any lawsuits regarding the SPC status of any company, not just Purism, would not go very far due to lack of an ability to show damages. I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that you, nearly always, have to prove some amount of damage to have a successful civil suit.

Second, I think instead of making the definitions of SPC less vague the lawmakers will just take away the option if the primary feedback is complaints. I think it would be better to meet with lawmakers asking for clarifications and to work with them to improve the definition before complaining that a specific company under a vague umbrella isn’t behaving the way you want.

From what I’ve been able to find of the SPC status is that there was a noble concept that was only partially implemented and in turn there is no practical enforcement mechanism as the definitions are not precise enough yet.

This is something I blame lawmakers and the voting public for more than Purism as I think Purism’s goals were sound when they changed their business type to SPC.

Ultimately the type SPC is very new and would likely benefit from some refinement, it is my opinion that such refinement should be guided just as much by the public as buy the businesses that would use the filing type. I do hope this happens, but I suspect this will take many years.

As an interesting side note, I did discover if you click on the different “Social Purpose” links on Purism’s site you can end up in an infinite loop. Nothing positive nor negative just interesting.

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