Frequently Asked Questions about Environmental Reporting
You can also see the feedback from some of our members after reporting for the first time here
Reporting on your firm's sustainability and calculating your environmental consumption is fundamental to a responsible business approach. It provides your firm with a sustainability baseline and that enables you to set targets for future reduction and enables improvements to be measured when new strategies and initiatives are implemented. The reporting process also helps identify aspects of your business that could be more sustainable and perhaps benefit from closer scrutiny.
Providing AusLSA with information about your sustainability commitments, activities and achievements also benefits the broader legal sector as it allows AusLSA to develop and maintain industry benchmarks. AusLSA shares this bench marking information to build a broader understanding on the standards of sustainability leadership and performance that are achievable for different types of Australian law firms.
No, we understand that not all law firms will be in a position to report immediately, but as AusLSA member we hope you will be working toward reporting.
As an AusLSA member you have made a commitment to the AusLSA Principles which include:
No, you can submit your sustainability information to AusLSA and request that it remain unpublished.
For members who are concerned about going public, this option allows your firm to recording your sustainability baseline and benchmark your positions with other firms. Your data also contributes to AusLSA’s sectoral analyses.
Electing to publish your report promotes your commitment to sustainability and if you don’t publish your report, you might miss a good news story when, next year, you find your performance has improved!
Reports are based on the financial year and we request submissions by 23rd of August so that a report can be published by Early November. Please discuss any concerns with the timeline with Richard Jennings - we will always do as much as we can to ensure you have sufficient time to submit your data.
It is a much better idea to commence reporting as soon as possible, ideally before you implement any sustainability programmes. Then, you will be able to see your impacts improve. The improvements you will be able to demonstrate also make a great news story to tell your stakeholders partners and staff.
AusLSA carefully considered access to data when designing the Reporting Framework and reporting process and identified data that was easily accessible in law firms and simple to input into the SRAT reporting tool. You will need:
We decided to exclude base-building emissions from heating, cooling, air-conditioning and common-space energy use for two reasons:
Data access. Usually management and control of these energy sources is the responsibility of the landlord and the data held by building management, and
With multiple tenants and without sub-metering, the only way to estimate your firm’s consumption of these sources is to use a proportion of total consumption. This means that your allocation may not reflect your relative consumption efficiencies compared to other tenants.
The SRAT was developed by sustainability professionals. The greenhouse methodology used has been verified by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management and adheres to reporting standards including the GHG Protocol and the ISO 14064.1.AusLSA has taken care to develop a tool which is accurate and robust, but which also accounts for the fact that data collection can be difficult in law firms.
Additional social sustainability measures for the pillars of People, Community and Governance have been developed with reference to;
AusLSA's Sustainable Reporting and analysis Tool(SRAT) provides substantial online help: each question has a help button marked with a question mark.
If you require extra help, you are always welcome to contact AusLSA for advice.