New York Times on the “Fourth Sector”

In the May 6, 2007 edition of the New York Times:  "Businesses Try to Make Money and Save the World."  Here are some interesting points made in the article:

  • Bay Area attorney R. Todd Johnson is working on creating an online wiki focused on "for-benefit corporations"
  • Goldman Sachs has "a four-member research team that assesses the environmental, social and management performance of companies in the same way that more traditional colleagues analyze financial performance."
  • The Ford Foundation has about $170 million in assets sunk into program-related investments in 99 nonprofits.
  • Examples of fourth sector enterprises discussed:
    • Altrushare Securities
    • General Electric and its $12 billion Ecomagination business
  • "Legions of companies that have sought to occupy the middle ground between nonprofit and for-profit have bowed to pressure to sell to conglomerates, including Ben & Jerry’s (sold to Unilever) and the Body Shop (now owned by L’Oreal).  Others, most notably Patagonia, have simply refused to sell or to go public."