What is a Community Contribution Company (CCC) and why is Purppl one?

Business has a critical role to play in shaping culture and communities. Since the industrial age, for-profit models of product and service delivery have often been attributed as a source of social and environmental inequity, not necessarily a solution or a collaborator in regeneration. But that is changing. Newer corporate models have emerged that centre the health and wellbeing of people and planet. 

In British Columbia, Canada, a unique model for incorporation is available – the Community Contribution Company (CCC, or “3C”) – for organizations, like Purppl, that identify as social enterprises deeply committed to fostering a just and regenerative economy. 

The CCC designation is not just a title; it’s a reflection of an organization’s core mission to weave social purpose seamlessly into the fabric of its business operations.

Community Contribution Companies prioritize social, environmental or community outcomes

Introduced in July 2013, CCCs were designed as hybrid entities to bridge the gap between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. By combining the innovation and flexibility of a for-profit business with the social mission and governance of a not-for-profit, CCCs like Purppl are uniquely positioned to tackle pressing societal issues while engaging in commercial activities.

A Community Contribution Company’s mandate is clear: prioritize social, environmental, or community objectives. This is ensured through several key features:

  • Dividend Cap:
    CCCs can issue dividends to shareholders, but these are capped at 40% of annual profits, ensuring the majority of profits are reinvested in social purposes.
  • Governance and Accountability:
    CCCs must have at least three directors who are mandated to pursue the company’s community purposes. They are also subject to specific liabilities for the wrongful distribution of assets.
  • Transparency through Reporting:
    An annual “community contribution report” is required, detailing the company’s social expenditures, activities, and any dividends paid, promoting transparency and accountability.
  • Asset Lock:
    Upon dissolution or sale of the company, a maximum of 40% of a CCC’s assets can be returned to shareholders, meaning the other 60% must be distributed to charitable or other qualified organizations like First Nations.
  • Flexibility in Purpose:
    While a CCC’s social or “community purposes” must be beneficial to society beyond the company’s internal community, shareholders retain the flexibility to modify these purposes, provided they align with the broader community interest.

Purppl’s Path to Becoming a Community Contribution Company

Choosing to operate as a CCC was a deliberate decision aligned with Purppl’s vision. Our work with social entrepreneurs and impact leaders is dedicated to creating systemic change. 

“Choosing to incorporate as a Community Contribution Company is about commitment, sustainability, and impact,” says Purppl Managing Director and Cofounder Andrew Greer. “CCCs have unwavering requirements on and commitments to profit distribution and asset locks. They are able to operate as a business while being enabled to do deep impact work similar to a nonprofit; they are a nice hybrid.”

As a CCC, we are empowered to:

  • Align Structure with Mission:
    Our CCC’s framework ensures our business operations directly support our social impact goals.
  • Demonstrate Leadership:
    Embracing this model, we aim to inspire other organizations to recognize the potential of integrating social impact with business.

“For us,” continues Andrew, “we aim to lead by example, demonstrating that a company and a system can be sustainable, successful, equitable – and unquestionably ensure the majority of the financial benefit is put towards social impact.”

In Good Company: The Growing CCC Ecosystem

Purppl is but one thread in the rich tapestry of CCCs committed to social change. 

More than 90 CCCs have been incorporated (as of December 2020) in B.C., including social enterprises as diverse as: 

  • CleanStart, offering employment pathways through cleaning services; 
  • Urban Matters, a consulting group that works with governments, nonprofits and corporates to innovate solutions to complex social issues;
  • Portland Hotel Society, a supportive housing and harm reduction provider for folks with lived experience of mental illness, substance use, incarceration and/or structural violence;
  • Do Some Good, a fund- and awareness-raising tech platform for community organizations and the people and companies that support them;
  • Buy Social Canada, an ecosystem builder and “Social Value Marketplace” that provides social procurement advocacy, education and consulting. (Purppl is also certified through Buy Social Canada as a social enterprise.)

Reflections and Looking Forward

As we navigate our journey as a Community Contribution Company, we’re constantly reminded of our values and the integrity we seek to ensure our actions lead from purpose. Our model allows us to be part of a movement towards a more equitable, regenerative future. 

We are proud to be part of the pioneering cohort of companies in British Columbia choosing to incorporate as CCCs, demonstrating daily that profit and purpose can collaborate quite beautifully. Together, we are proof that business can indeed be a force for equitable systems change. 

 

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