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Legal Sector Alliance reports on green initiatives + webcast

As organisations gear-up for the Copenhagen summit on climate change, 138 of the UK largest law firms and related bodies have published their first annual report under the auspices of the Legal Sector Alliance (LSA). A copy of the report is attached however among the findings:

• a majority (57%) of LSA members have calculated their organisation’s carbon footprint with more firms (33%) planning to do so in 2010.
• of the members that calculated their carbon footprint, two-thirds used the LSA Carbon Protocol, a bespoke carbon measurement tool to help law firms easily calculate their footprint. (The LSA principles were developed in consultation with the profession and leading environmental NGOs.)
• organisations were more likely to have set targets for waste (42%) and/or energy (35%) than for travel (27%) or water (21%).
• 40% of respondents had developed a sustainable procurement policy and 50% planned to do so in 2010.

The LSA yesterday held a webcast to discuss their activities and initiatives. You can view the webcast via the following link – it will be available to view for the next 30 days.

One reply on “Legal Sector Alliance reports on green initiatives + webcast”

I don't buy this excuse for not counting paper (see below). This seems very lame. Certainly the paper suppliers can 'do their bit' to cut emissions, but at the end of the day they will provide paper to wasteful solicitors firms. What are they supposed to do? Tell a firm “Well, I think you're buying a bit too much paper – to reduce our carbon footprint we're going to refuse your next order”? Purchased paper represents a substantial carbon footprint and must be included to be fair. It should also take into account whether the paper is recycled or sourced from managed forests, since every tree cut down and not replaced can represent a significant CO2 emission.
Also, as has been pointed out in various places, the purchase of office equipment and construction of buildings etc represent much higher CO2 emissions than the ongoing emissions due to electricity and travel. To give an example, the manufacture of a PC uses more CO2 and energy than the final product uses in the course of a 5 year lifetime. Therefore buying replacement low-energy PCs (e.g. with Atom processors) to 'reduce the CO2 footprint' will be hugely counter-productive because much more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere as an indirect result of buying a new PC than if you kept a 2003 PC with power-guzzling Pentium 4 Extreme!
The excuse is provided below, and is available at this link:
“Why are you not measuring paper, waste, etc?
Paper and other consumables will have a carbon footprint, of course, but that will belong to the manufacturers and transporters rather than to the consumers. Waste does have a climate change impact, principally methane generation from landfill. As this involves a very inaccurate estimate it was not included in this first assessment. It may appear in subsequent assessments when more is known about the carbon impact of different waste disposal options.”

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