The series on the role of companies in generating the common good, which began in autumn 2018 in Futuribles 426 and continued in issues 427, 429 and 431, resumes in this issue. As this article by Geneviève Ferone Creuzet and Virginie Seghers shows, the subject is nowhere near being exhausted and the process by which a collective interest capitalism will develop is only in its very earliest stages. Above and beyond corporate social responsibility, which has made room for a number of principles that can counterbalance short-termist or strictly financial logics, new forms of company are now developing, better defined and codified in legal terms, which aim to incorporate the mission and aim of contributing to the common good in their articles of association.
The authors of this article, who have participated actively in developing these new company structures in France, show how their specific articles of association have emerged and what they entail. Inspired, in particular, by developments in the USA over the last 10 years, ‘benefit corporations’ and ‘shareholder foundations’ are developing in France, together with other similar structures, enabling companies to reconcile aims of economic profitability with a concern for collective utility. The passing of the PACTE law (Plan of Action for the Growth and Transformation of Enterprises) in spring 2019 attests to the interest among political decision-makers in these changes of model: an encouraging sign, suggesting that the many challenges of this century may be confronted by all the stakeholders at their own particular level—public authorities, citizens and now economic actors of any size or scope.