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UK law firms 'reducing their carbon footprint'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 19/06/13

When a combination of extreme climate change, socio-religious extremism, myopic greed and media addiction finally brings the world to a juddering halt, and we fall into a new Dark Age, surviving British lawyers can rest assured it won't be their fault.

At least not in terms of the first issue - we can't really speak for the other three. But the news that leading UK law firms have reduced their carbon emissions by the equivalent of over 29,000 tonnes of CO2 at least means they won't need to feel too guilty when we're all forced to live on makeshift rafts.

The drop is the equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of two Magic Circle law firms, indicating that major strides have been taken to improve energy efficiency in the sector.

Some 57 organisations agreed to monitor their output for the Legal Sector Alliance Annual Report, recording an average reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 1.84 per cent over a 12-month period.

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said: "This study shows that UK law firms lead the fight against climate change in the professional services. This is no mean feat for a sector that includes firms of all sizes, from sole practitioners to Magic Circle firms with billion pound turnovers."

Hopes are high that conditions will continue to improve, with 49 per cent of respondents setting a waste reduction target and 39 per cent planning to cut down on the environmental impact of work-related travel.

And with 56 per cent of firms communicating proactively with clients on green issues, it appears there is a broad base of support for making further positive changes in the future.

The UK government's various initiatives aimed at making it easier for firms to adopt carbon-friendly measures should also help legal organisations carry these out without finding themselves out of pocket.