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Adoption Of Environmental Practices Saves Law Firms' Money

Adoption Of Environmental Practices Saves Law Firms' Money

23 September, 2008

In the current economic downturn, law firms can make significant financial savings by adopting environmentally sustainable practices says Legal Sector Alliance (LSA)

The LSA is warning that with the rising costs of gas and coal on the wholesale markets and the soaring price of oil that law firms could be losing money if they don't adopt environmentally friendly practices.

The Alliance, which is an inclusive movement of law firms, the Law Society and other organisations committed to working collaboratively to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt environmentally sustainable practices, says that small behavioural changes that cost nothing can result in significant savings.

Desmond Hudson, Law Society Chief Executive, said: "As the economic downturn gathers pace businesses and individuals alike are feeling the pinch. Economic uncertainty coupled with increasingly urgent warnings of the impact of climate change reinforce the importance of streamlining expenditure through environmental efficiencies."

Energy efficiency not only helps the environment but can lead to significant financial savings with little or no outlay.

Minimising the use of any resource such as paper, water or ink cartridges will undoubtedly make for leaner businesses. While teleconferencing rather than travelling to meetings, another example of environmental efficiency, translates directly to the bottom line with significant savings in time and travel costs.

Stacey Collins, Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, said "With recent energy price increases and the current economic circumstances, investing in reducing energy usage is really common sense, even without the overriding responsibility we have to tackle climate change. Some very straightforward low cost improvements to how we light, heat and cool the London office in 2007 realised a saving of over 1 million KWh, which would have added more than £53,000 to our annual energy bill."

The Alliance was specifically created to support law firms in the management and reduction of their carbon emissions and adoption of more environmentally sustainable practices, by providing access to relevant information, guidance and support. One of its first initiatives has been to develop a sector-specific carbon footprint protocol.

Andrew Whitehead, Partner at Martineau says : "For us, and I suspect for most law firms, measuring our carbon footprint and adopting sustainable business practices is not solely an altruistic exercise. There are some key business drivers that are pushing us down this road. First and foremost, we're paying higher energy costs right now, like everyone else, and better energy efficiency improves the bottom line. In fact, the current difficult economic conditions we're experiencing mean control of energy costs is important even without the green benefits. It is perhaps inevitable that regulation in this area from Brussels and Westminster will increasingly affect all sizes of businesses, including law firms, and those who can adapt early on will reap rewards later."

Desmond Hudson said: "The inextricable link between environmental and financial sustainability means law firms literally have no choice but to streamline expenditure through environmental efficiencies. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that being green is now a determining factor in employee recruitment, retention and engagement rates with recent CIPD research showing that more than 50% of people would prefer to work for a company with a strong environmental policy."



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