These principles have been developed in consultation with the profession and leading environmental NGOs. They are intended to provide both a framework to support individual action by each member and an outline of the LSA’s commitment to collective action.
They cover members’ own operations, but also their wider influence on clients, suppliers, employees and policy makers. The initial focus of the principles is on UK activities, recognising that firms with operations elsewhere are likely to apply these or similar principles to those operations in a phased manner.
We recognise that because of the different sizes and starting points of those within the sector, each member will need to apply the principles and take action in different ways. For this reason, we have provided some examples of how the principles might be applied, but these are in no way intended to be prescriptive.
The LSA will review the principles annually based on implementation experience, to reflect ongoing learning and emerging good practice, and to reflect the increased maturity of the sector and its collective contribution to climate change reductions.
As members of the Legal Sector Alliance, we commit to:
- Measure, manage and reduce the impact of our operations
- Work with external stakeholders to reduce our indirect impact
- Integrate awareness of climate change across our business
- Advise clients on the opportunities and obligations arising from and under climate change law
- Work collaboratively to engage in the public debate on climate change and to develop, apply and promote best practice across the sector
- Report on our progress and be accountable
- Adopt and pursue a challenging emissions reduction target appropriate for our own organisation and needs, achievement of which will deliver over stated time periods a meaningful and progressive reduction in our emissions
The LSA considers that an absolute reduction target is best practice but recognises that a per employee or other target may be justifiable for some members as a transition to an absolute measure. The LSA also considers that targets should aspire to deliver reductions consistent with longer term objectives under climate change legislation. All reporting firms will be asked to confirm performance against their targets when reporting under the LSA Protocol. The LSA recognises that establishing carbon targets requires a robust emissions baseline however, and therefore calculating your firm's carbon footprint should be a first step for all members.
Implicit in these principles is the recognition that they will be applied as appropriate and where relevant. However, this is not to be taken as a 'get-out clause'. The LSA recognises that the principles will apply to different members within the sector in different ways and that they will be at different stages of integrating climate change across their business. Therefore, it is natural that this would be reflected in their ability to implement the principles. Where it is impossible for a member to implement a particular principle they are invited to explain why they are unable to do so in their annual report back to the LSA and this will be taken into account. Those adopting these principles are doing so voluntarily and independently.