Morrison Foerster was recognized with the Environment & Sustainability: Innovation Award at the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America 2022. The recognition reflects MoFo’s position as a leader in sustainability, environmental, social, and governance (ESG), and pro bono work, and was awarded on the basis of the firm’s extensive involvement in a myriad of sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing environmental impact.
Unlike other firms recognized in other categories at the awards series, Morrison Foerster was named an outright winner, confirming its position as the preeminent ESG firm in the United States. MoFo’s deep and abiding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and environmental sustainability, spans over two decades, with the firm specifically focused on environmental sustainability since 2001. Our partners are at the forefront of the industry as founding members of the Social Accountability Standards Board, and on the boards of Ceres, Business for Social Responsibility, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, and the Climate Registry, among others. Our partners also played a key role in drafting the new corporate forms to create a Social Purpose Corporation (SPC) in California, which is substantially similar to the DE Public Benefit Corporation, and requires boards and management to focus on positive social and environmental impact in addition to financial returns.
Complementing our market-leading ESG group is MoFo’s extensive pro bono program. We do valuable and innovative pro bono work for some of the world’s leading non-governmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Ceres. As a founding member of Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, an initiative launched in conjunction with the Global Climate Action Summit, MoFo committed to providing $2 million in pro bono legal services for projects addressing climate change in 2021 and then contributed $4.3 million in pro bono services to those matters in 2021.
While pro bono is an important element in MoFo’s sustainability arsenal, philanthropy is less than one-half of one percent of the total worldwide capital markets. To address an issue as significant as climate change, it is imperative to find ways to channel large volumes of private capital into sustainable initiatives. MoFo is famous for its ability to integrate environmental sustainability and DEI into mainstream capital markets. Suz Mac Cormac, a Corporate partner and chair of the ESG, Social Enterprise + Impact Investing, and Energy practices at MoFo, combines an elite Corporate and Finance practice with a commitment to furthering environmental and social responsibility. She leads a team that innovates in designing funds and permanent capital vehicles that aggregate capital for financial return and positive impact, integrating true impact into the terms of debt and equity instruments, in addition to diligence and compliance.
This ability to craft best-in-class corporate forms and governance, the scaffolding that can help companies and investors alike avoid greenwashing and ensure that their operations and investments have the intended positive impact on the environment, has been a key part of MoFo’s push towards addressing climate change and building a more livable world.