Arkadelphia’s Southern Bancorp Inc. has joined the ranks of Certified B Corporations, an Arkansas first.
The $1.4 billion-asset lender is among 10 banks and thrifts in the nation to gain the designation, which denotes the highest standards of social performance, transparency and legal accountability, balancing profit and purpose.
Southern Bancorp changed its legal structure to become a benefit corporation in 2017. The move solidified its legal empowerment to pursue societal impact alongside profit.
Arkansas was among seven states to enact B Corporation legislation in 2013.
The ideals of a B Corp. are encapsulated in a declaration of interdependence:
“We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.
“This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation — the B Corporation — which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe: That we must be the change we seek in the world.
That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”