Socially Responsible Business and Impact Investing

Socially Responsible Business and Impact Investing

The business world has grown more complex as many companies and individuals seek multiple bottom lines of profit and social and environmental impact. New purpose-driven companies and complex nonprofit and for-profit hybrids are emerging every day. Established brands are also increasingly interested in and expected to develop social responsibility initiatives. Impact investors seek new investment structures and innovative legal models to blend philanthropy and traditional investments. Regardless of the purpose or scale of the social enterprise being launched, organizations need innovative legal advisors that support their goals and beliefs.

Taft’s attorneys serve as like-minded partners, leading companies in the emerging economy of conscious capitalism and purpose-driven enterprise. Our work includes advising clients on alternative legal structures, such as benefit corporations, worker cooperatives, and ESOPs, as well as third-party certifications and standards such as B Corp certification and GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards for sustainability reporting. At Taft, we not only provide legal services to social and environmentally conscious clients, but we are also deeply involved in the movement ourselves. Our team has lobbied for social entrepreneurship in the Midwest and regularly leads discussions about innovative business structures. We were proud to have had a hand in promoting Indiana’s benefit corporation legislation, being part of the inaugural Benefit Company Bar Association,and co-leading a study of social entrepreneurship in the region.

Our multidisciplinary attorneys understand the distinct legal issues that social enterprises commonly encounter. We leverage our passion for change and our knowledge of the evolving landscape of legal entities designed for innovative entrepreneurs to deliver cost-effective and strategic counsel.

We have partnered with clients of all sizes and stages, including start-up and growth-stage companies and benefit corporations. Our services include advising on:

  • Institutionalizing, measuring and reporting social impact into corporate and investment documents and business models.
  • Structuring ESG policies (environment, social and governance considerations) for private equity and venture capital firms, including guiding due diligence related to social impact and creating investment policies that reflect a fund’s intended focus.
  • Corporate structures that may involve multiple entities, such as how to integrate a benefit corporation, a corporate foundation, and a conventional for-profit business, to best fulfill the overall organization’s financial and social goals.
  • Advising on the special aspects of alternative ownership structures, such as employee cooperatives and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).
  • Mergers and acquisitions for nonprofit entities making innovative investments in for-profit entities aligned with their mission.
  • Joint ventures between nonprofits and for-profit subsidiaries or partnerships.
  • Venture capital and private equity investments.
  • Intellectual property and technology issues.
  • Employment and healthcare issues.

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