Earth Day takes place on 22 April, when individuals, environmental charities, community groups and organisations all over the world take steps to make a positive impact on the environment. It has been celebrated every year since 1970 and has involved a staggering one billion people from 193 countries.
It is, of course, a journey without end. There will always be something more we can do as we better understand the impact our activity has on the planet, our people and our communities.
One example of the commitment we have made in recent weeks is to sign up to the Greener Litigation pledge, joining some of the largest law firms and barristers’ chambers in the UK.
The Greener Litigation pledge was created in response to the 2015 Paris Agreement and UK legislation that commits the country to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050.
Firms that sign the pledge agree to work towards four objectives that will help restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees. The four objectives are:
- Take steps to reduce our environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions across our litigation and dispute resolution practices.
- To engage with the courts and the dispute resolution community to support changes to rules, procedures and practices that reduce the environmental impact of dispute resolution proceedings.
- Adopt practical steps to reduce our environmental footprints whilst maintaining the highest standards of justice and client service. These include:
- Corresponding with clients, barristers and other lawyers electronically.
- Limited printing of court bundles and documents.
- Promoting the use of electronic court bundles and documents with opposing lawyers.
- Walking, cycling or using public transport when travelling to court.
- Using, where possible, video-link evidence from witnesses.
- Whilst recognising the importance of in-person hearings, actively consider whether they can be heard remotely via video link or telephone.
- Avoiding unnecessary travel in a dispute.
- Committing to the use of renewable energy sources wherever possible
- Using suppliers and service providers that are committed to reducing their carbon footprints.
- Notifying and encouraging others to adopt the Greener Litigation pledge.
To date, over 75 law firms, barristers’ chambers and legal technology businesses have signed the Greener Litigation pledge.
It is just one of the many measures we and our colleagues are taking to help protect the environment, reduce our carbon emissions and celebrate Earth Day.