Opportunity Green Talks Corporate Social Responsibility with Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal

Posted on 09. Sep, 2010 by in Business & Policy, Interviews

Opportunity Green discusses corporate social responsibility with socially-conscious business attorney Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal.

OG: Where do you see the intersection of business law and environment from a legal perspective?

SS: As a business transactional attorney that services a variety of entities from the lone entrepreneur to established corporations, my focus is helping businesses that are socially aware create ventures with a strong legal foundation, while keeping profitability top of mind to ensure a win-win scenario for all parties involved.  As a socially conscious attorney, the greatest value my legal approach provides is that I create the necessary legal framework for companies to be protected and well structured as they pursue a triple bottom line of people, profit and planet. Having a sound and just legal foundation offers my clients the freedom to better the world and build a new sustainable economy at every level of the game without needing to expend energy or valuable human capital worrying about their legal health.

OG: How can companies manifest their sustainable values when it comes to how they do things on a day to day to basis?

SS: The best approach for companies to manifest their sustainable values vis-à-vis their daily business
operations is to align themselves at every level with other service providers and products that
manifest sustainable values – and that includes their attorney.  In order to be completely committed
to sustainable values, companies should infuse every level of their business with this spirit.  Using an
attorney that is focused on these values means that every negotiation and contract will keep an eye
on maintaining those same ideals, while simultaneously protecting the legal integrity of the business.

OG: Have you been watching any companies from your perspective as a lawyer as they
engage in corporate social responsibility?

SS: I do my best to stay abreast of what efforts various companies take to implement corporate social
responsibility, both because I want to support those companies and also because I want to be
inspired by them and their practices.  I believe that corporate social responsibility has really
developed as much as it has because consumers have demanded that corporations have a
conscience.  The law considers corporations to have the same legal rights that people do, and so
from my perspective, it is only fair that we demand our corporations to “behave” the way we would
want people we do business with to behave – responsible, just and compassionate.  I certainly am
moved by major corporations seriously taking on CSR as part of their operations (versus more as
a marketing tool), but what I’m more moved by is the hungry entrepreneur steadily building her
business without compromising her vision of a sustainable, profitable world.   I have a few favorites.
TerraCycle and TOMS Shoes are two of the more well-known stories. As a new mom, I’ve gotten
to know the socially conscious movement in baby products and have come to love Green To Grow,
a local Los Angeles company that makes BPA free baby bottles. I’ve even had a heart-warming
mom moment with one of the founders, Shelley Ritterbrown, which made me appreciate their story
even more – I find the genuine and committed spirit of entrepreneurs trying to do good in the world
absolutely enchanting.

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