LEGAL SECTOR SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHT: Report of AusLSA Members 2016
This year has been another important year of expansion for our members’ annual report. We are close to
achieving our four-year plan of expanding our reporting scope to more completely address the most
material sustainability issues for our sector.
We are also very excited this year to provide a report that incorporates the advice and contributions from
key thought leaders and organisations on the issues which are key to our industry and are grateful for
their contribution in areas including; pro bono legal services, gender equity, psychological well being,
LGBTI inclusion, workplace giving and volunteering and indigenous reconciliation. The new relationships
being built in these areas not only strengthen this year’s report, but provide an expert source of feedback
and experience for the ongoing development of our programs and reporting.
One benefit from this increasingly complete perspective to sustainability is that in addition to addressing
the most material sustainability risks for our sector, we can also report on the significant legacy and
positive contributions that legal firms provide to their stakeholders and the broader community.
Some of the areas we now include in our sustainability snapshot such as greenhouse reporting, pro bono
legal programs and codes of conduct are well understood and are subject to ongoing programs by
AusLSA members. In these areas the information presented in this report shows that commitments,
processes and actions are in place from our member firms which are driving ongoing improvements.
In addition to the more established areas of our reporting, there are newer emerging risks and
obligations to our people and communities such as psychological wellbeing, LGBTI inclusion and
Sustainable Supply chain management. Some of these areas have come into prominence more recently
because of changes in society and a greater industry awareness and acceptance of their importance. In
these newer areas law firms are generally at an earlier stage and programs are less mature and
developed. However, we are greatly heartened to see how AusLSA members are responding to these
issues by putting the required foundations of change in place.
Our report shows that in addition to another year of persistent reductions in the environmental impacts
of firms, there is a strong commitment and focus to address the issues and opportunities to improve the
lives of our people and communities. We hope that you will take some time to explore the broad range of
areas covered in this report to better understand both the encouraging progress made by the industry as
well as the challenges and priorities we need to address in our journey to a more sustainable industry.
At AusLSA the growth of our programs and support needs to keep ahead of the expectations of the
industry, its stakeholders and the community. It also needs to capitalise on the opportunities available to
demonstrate a more strategic and sustainable approach to corporate purpose and responsibility.
In May this year the AusLSA board endorsed a new three-year strategic plan to concentrate our efforts
on building capacity and relationships to provide the new programs, tools and information to underpin
the commitments of our members and stakeholders. We would like to extend your appreciation to the
AusLSA executive members and board to the additional work and thought they have contributed during
the year in establishing and delivering this plan.
Brendan Bateman and Kelvin O'Connor
Co Chairs, AusLSA