Substance151 Becomes One of the First Benefit LLCs in the U.S.

Baltimore, MD, June 1, 2011 – Today, Substance151, a strategic brand communications firm, filed to become one of the first Benefit LLCs in Maryland and in the U.S.

On May 19, 2011, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill that allows Maryland triple-bottom-line limited liability companies to be organized as Benefit LLCs. This law follows on the heels of the Benefit Corporation law that took effect last October, making Maryland the first state in the Union to recognize Benefit Corporation as a new corporate form that legally recognizes business entities with social and environmental missions.

“Becoming a Benefit LLC will not change fundamentally how we work or how we operate,” said Ida Cheinman, principal and creative director of Substance151. “We are already a Green America certified business and will continue to build on our current sustainable practices. But by being among the very first LLCs in the state – and in the country – to receive this designation, I believe Substance151 can help create a stronger voice for businesses seeking to do well and to do good.”

Senator Raskin (Montgomery County), who sponsored both legislations, referred to this as “a great moment in the evolution of commercial life in Maryland and America” and called on Maryland to “become the Delaware of Benefit Corporations.” The passage of the Benefit LLC law in Maryland represents a vital step for providing the legal framework to compliment the growing reality of, and necessity for, environmental and social responsibility in all aspects of business planning.

As local small businesses (many of which are LLCs) are often the first and most enthusiastic adopters of sustainable practices, the “benefit” designation offers an opportunity to generate more sustainable economic activity in the state. It is also a way for a sustainable business to distinguish itself and to gain a competitive advantage.