Why we incorporated CANOA as a public benefit corporation

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Cities are growing. They are growing a lot.

At a high level that is a good thing. As the GatesNotes article reads, cities afford a higher quality of life for its residents and the average resource draw per-capita is much lower in cities than in other less dense habitats.

This does not however mean that all growth is good. Wasteful growth has unfortunately been the norm since the industrial revolution, with most operating under the assumption that resources are infinitely renewable.

What’s been missing from our industry is the type of growth that also measures and values impact on resources and communities, not just shareholder value.

This is why we started Canoa.

Of course we are passionate about design and furniture and technology. But the real reason this company exists is to develop a new model for growth. One that isn’t content taking from the earth without giving back.

When starting a company from scratch, one has a lot of freedom to maneuver and design a foundation that helps prop up the overall mission. This is harder to do with older companies that are trying to make structural changes in an effort to modernize their operations to meet 21st century challenges.

For this reason, starting as a PBC, or public benefit corporation, made sense to us. It signals to our team, our investors, our customers and the larger community that we understand that doing business today’s world requires a different foundation.  

A PBC allows us to expand our charter to a ‘triple bottom line’ model where our reporting is not only on profits, but also on environmental and community impact.

We’re excited to see where this takes us and commit to be open and transparent along the way. We will be posting our lessons on this blog. Our mistakes, our successes and our data so that others can hopefully be learn from our failures and successes and improve upon them with their own ideas.

Stay above water.