Actualidad Colombia

Regulating companies of general interest (“benefit corporations”)

Draft decree from the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism

With the passing of Act 1901 in 2018, the Colombian government opened up the possibility of all types of companies adopting general interest company (BIC in the Spanish acronym) legal status, which entails their having a societal and environmental purpose that goes beyond shareholders' profit and interests.

By virtue of that law, the senior officers and managers of companies adopting this status must attach serious importance to the company's social and environmental interest and ensure transparency in reporting on its social impact in all its dimensions: business model, corporate governance, labor practices, environmental practices and community practices. Furthermore, the company's legal representative will be in charge of enforcing its social and environmental purpose, which must be properly covered in the corresponding management report.

In line with the above, in order to regulate this type of company more closely, the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism recently tabled a draft decree setting out operating instructions and setting the incentives that companies adopting the BIC classification will have:

  • Right to a 50% reduction on the Companies Register fee
  • The Industry & Trade Authority must bear in mind the company's BIC category when setting the rates applicable for registering logotypes and new creations
  • Exemption from income tax on profits from stocks given to workers
  • Preferential access to lines of credit
  • Reduced tariff on the withholding tax
  • Additional scoring in state procurement tenders