The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation launches guide for growing social enterprise

Report examines legal policies that affect social enterprise around the world

The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation launches guide for growing social enterprise

Lex Mundi’s Pro Bono Foundation has launched a report on the formation and development of social enterprise globally.

The report examines legal policies that affect social enterprise around the world. It reviews laws and policies across 83 jurisdictions, with insight from hundreds of regional counsel who participated in the project, to offer a comparative analysis of how different countries support and enable the development of social ventures. It includes observations from each inhabited continent and every major legal structure, including key recommendations to assist policymakers in catalyzing the formation and growth of social enterprises in their respective jurisdictions.

Among its recommendations, the report entitled ‘Legal reform as a catalyst for social enterprise: an international social enterprise law & policy report’ identifies six pillars in a successful strategy to support the growth of social enterprise:

  • clearly defining social enterprise
  • enabling fiduciaries to consider stakeholders other than business owners
  • providing tax benefits to social enterprises and their investors
  • implementing easier investment vehicles for social enterprises
  • guarding against corruption and ‘greenwashing’; and
  • maintaining flexibility to allow for scaled application of rules and opt-in features.

“Across the world there has been growing concern about inequality, unsustainability and climate change for decades,” said Isis Bous, managing director at The Pro Bono Foundation. “The COVID-19 pandemic brought sharply into focus the need for businesses to contribute to meaningful change. Social enterprise has an absolutely critical role to play in this.

“We hope the valuable insight in this report will provide clear direction to decision makers looking to support social enterprise and further their missions to drive social, economic, and environmental change.”

The report was commissioned by Catalyst 2030, a global movement which brings together social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all sectors to attain sustainable development goals by 2030.

International law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP and more than sixty Lex Mundi member firms around the world worked with The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation to create the report which offers a definitive guide on how governments can help social enterprises achieve greater impact.

Jeroo Billimoria, cofounder of Catalyst 2030, said: “Through our annual Catalyst 2030 Awards, we celebrate governments who facilitate the work that we do and recognize the value that social entrepreneurs bring. We look forward to seeing how this report increases engagement among stakeholders around the world.”

The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation is a nonprofit affiliate of Lex Mundi - a network of 150+ independent firms across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, North America, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

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