So, why is “organic” no longer a trusted label in the food industry? Answer: because it’s part of the food industry!
Once “organic” became a term legally defined by the FDA, corporations that produce our food had an incentive to shirk on the spirit of the law to make maximal profits while still obeying the technical definition. Law is, after all, just a bunch of technicalities. Economically, organic allowed the food industry to discriminate between its customers that cared and had enough money to pay for healthy food from those who were just trying to fill their bellies or otherwise did not have the funds to pay for the higher priced organic products. Discrimination almost always results in a higher profit for the producer and a lower surplus of benefit for the consumer.
As of today there are twenty seven states with laws defining and recognizing the organizational structure known as the benefit corporation. Such corporations, in stark contrast to traditional corporate structure, are required to adhere to higher standards of transparency and social responsibility which they must report publicly on a periodic basis. The legal structure of these organizations was proposed in a large part due to work by B Laps, a non profit organization.
So, my question is, can we use our experience with the failure of the organic label to somehow bolster up the spirit of the B and benefit corporations? How will corporations attaining this legal status use the loopholes of the law to extract more profit from their consumers than they could if registered as traditional corporations? Or, just maybe, it’s not possible. In which case any organization registered under one of these titles might actually be trustworthy in that it might, just might, be actually attempting to improve the welfare of the people…