Q: What’s happening?
A: Biohabitats is transitioning ownership of the company from individual shareholders to a Perpetual Purpose Trust known as the Biohabitats Purpose Trust.
Q: What is a Perpetual Purpose Trust?
A: A Perpetual Purpose Trust (PPT) is a form of non-charitable trust, where the beneficiary of the trust is not a person, but the company’s purpose. A PPT is sort of like a benevolent owner who will never retire, never die, and never needs to take profits out of the business. It simply exists to hold ownership of the company indefinitely, allowing the company to focus on running a healthy, sustainable business that uses the profits to further its mission and to benefit its stakeholders. We are building our very purpose into our legal business structure.
Q: What is the Biohabitats Trust’s Purpose?
A: Our Purpose is to “Restore nature, protect and conserve biodiversity, inspire love for wild places, and generate a financial return on our investment while operating as an authentic representation of our core mission and values.”
Q: Does this Purpose replace Biohabitats’ Mission?
A: No. Our mission remains the same: Restore the Earth and Inspire Ecological Stewardship. The Purpose Statement speaks to our reasons for choosing Trust ownership vs. another ownership option. It is our North Star–the compass that ensures that our strategic initiatives and governance stay on track.
Q: Will this change how we do business?
A: No. It actually enables us to continue pursuing our mission in a way that aligns with our core values in perpetuity.
Q: Is Biohabitats still a Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corporation™?
A: Yes. We are proud to remain a Benefit Corporation and maintain our status as a Certified B Corporation™. Our B Corp certification demonstrates that we meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, and our transition to a PPT only strengthens that.
Q: Why did Biohabitats decide to transition to a PPT?
A: There are two primary reasons. Biohabitats’ culture, values, and DNA of Self Governance, Wholeness, and Evolutionary Purpose define us, and we wanted to make sure they continue. With ownership placed within the Trust, Biohabitats can never be bought or sold. We also believe that maximizing shareholder financial returns as the primary reason for being in business is one of the leading causes of social and political inequity, climate change, biodiversity loss, and systemic racism, and not the right model for us. We want to practice capitalism in a way that benefits Earth and human well-being, aligns with our values, and gives Nature a direct role in our governance. We believe the PPT is the model that best does this.
Q: Is Keith Bowers leaving Biohabitats?
A: No. Keith will be a part of Biohabitats for many years to come.
Q: How was Biohabitats owned and governed before this transition?
A: Biohabitats was a subchapter S Corporation and a Benefit Corporation that was owned by shareholders. All of Biohabitats’ shareholders were team members who earned or purchased stock through the company’s stock ownership program. All shares were purchased from the shareholders as part of this transition. Biohabitats was and continues to be governed by a Board of Directors and a Leadership Council. The Leadership Council includes rotating positions and seats for emerging leaders. With the PPT, our self-governance is further protected by our Trust Earth Stewardship Committee.
Q: What is the Trust Earth Stewardship Committee?
A: Biohabitats’ Purpose Trust will be overseen by the Trust Earth Stewardship Committee (TESC). The TESC is responsible for governing the assets held by the trust in accordance with the purpose laid out in the trust agreement. TSC members are legally responsible and liable for executing the purpose of the trust. This creates Purpose – Mission alignment and accountability throughout Biohabitats.
Q: Who makes up the Trust Earth Stewardship Committee?
There will be five to seven seats on our Trust Earth Stewardship Committee. Since “Revere Wild Nature” is one of our core values and “Inspire love for wild places” is embedded in our purpose, we believe it is essential for nature to have agency within the governance of Biohabitats Purpose Trust. We have therefore allocated one permanent seat on the TESC to represent Nature. We will appoint a person(s) who will be designated as the Nature Guardian. The role of the Nature Guardian will be to represent the innate rights of nature and to put into practice ecological democracy, as defined in the Biohabitats Purpose Trust Objectives. The Nature Guardian will offer guidance, wisdom, and conversational space to ask, “What would Nature do?”