Good deeds might be good business in S.F. 

Socially responsible businesses may benefit in the bidding process for government contracts in San Francisco under a proposal.

The Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on legislation introduced by Supervisor David Chiu that will give bidding preferences to what are known as “benefit corporations.”

The legislation would apply a 4 percent discount on the bid price from such companies. The initial proposal had a higher discount of 8 percent, but that was reduced as the proposal underwent three hearings before the board’s Budget and Finance Committee. Other changes included applying the discount to those businesses located in neighboring counties or Sacramento, and preventing the discount from keeping a local business from winning the bid.

San Francisco is allowed to show preference to benefit corporations under Assembly Bill 361, which went into effect in January. The law defines these kinds of businesses as those that have policies that “create a material positive impact on society and the environment,” and which make decisions not based on profit alone, but also for the interests of workers, the community and the environment.

Seven states recognize these business types. There are more than 500 benefit corporations in 60 different industries throughout the nation.

“These are exactly the types of companies that we need to be encouraging and rewarding in San Francisco,” Chiu has said.

Benefit corporations are certified by the state. There are currently 21 California-based companies signed up.

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