Eighteen top firms have backed a new carbon footprint protocol specifically tailored for the legal profession.
The new code has been designed by the Legal Sector Alliance, a movement of law firms and organisations committed to working collaboratively against the climate threat, to provide law firms with a practical guide to adopting environmentally sustainable practices.
LSA project manager Debbi Christophers said: "The new protocol was mainly a collaboration between representatives of four firms - Burges Salmon, SJ Berwin, Freshfields and DLA Piper - who came up with the final protocol after a common message was coming through that everyone wanted to measure their carbon footprint but had no clue how to go about it.
"The tool and guide is tailored to law firms specifically, looking as issues such as business travel and energy efficiency opposed to other tools out there which are for manufacturers and so not really applicable to a law firm environment."
Firms that decide to use the new tool are not required to publicly disclose their results, but 18 law firms including Allen & Overy, DLA Piper, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith and Linklaters, as well as the Law Society have committed to revealing their footprints in December.
Herbert Smith chief operating officer Norman Green welcomed the LSA protocol as an effective way in which the sector can work together to cut carbon emissions.
Green said: “Now, with climate change firmly on the business agenda, this kind of data is being demanded by an increasing number of graduates, employees and clients as evidence that we are taking this issue seriously.
“People want to know what their business partners and their employers are doing in this area, and this sends a powerful signal that we need to do more and we need to do better.”
The LSA believe this will mean larger law firms that have already advanced their carbon reduction initiatives can more easily pass on knowledge to smaller firms.
Christophers said that from December the Legal Sector Alliance will be open to all law firms in addition to the founding members.
"The reason for having the founding members in the first place is because they had the resources, experience and commitment to get the project running quite quickly. Now we want as many firms as possible to come on board," she explained.
Morgans Solicitors principal Roy Morgan added: “As chair of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group I'm aware that many practices simply do not know where to start with measuring their carbon footprint, so I am pleased that we will be able to benefit from the experiences of colleagues in larger firms.”
The 18 founder member firms are:
Allen & Overy Bond Pearce Burges Salmon Cobbetts Dickinson Dees DLA Piper Eversheds Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer Herbert Smith Irwin Mitchell Linklaters Lovells Martineau Morgan Solicitors Nicholas Moore Slaughter and May SJ Berwin Taylor Wessing