Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector


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  • 02 September 2011 10:51 AM | Anonymous member

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    • The scope of 'stationery' should include paper based consumables (writing, printing, copying, notepads, folder inserts etc), toner cartridges and ink, writing implements and general office accessories
    • Stationery suppliers will typically have vast supply chains, and will acquire products from many sources; the challenge for the end consumer is to try as much as possible to ensure that the products we ultimately use are sourced ethically, and provide environmental relief in their manufacture
    • Stationery supply is a highly competitive market, technologies are converging and environmental performance in manufacture or supply is being seen as a differentiation factor
    • Our purchases need to consider how the supply is sourced, as well as how to minimise impacts from use and disposal of product 


    Identify Requirement 

    • Consider the specifications of the stationery and consumables used in your office against the criteria stated in the UNEP procurement guidelines (below). These are classified into four criteria, being:
      • paper and paper based consumables;
      • toner, inks and printer cartridges;
      • writing implements



    • Consider how you want to decide on a stationery supplier. The UNEP guidelines provide a checklist with a scoring mechanism, but ultimately, it may be more of a commercial decision for your firm, which may be based on price or relationship, however you should always consider the environmental and ethical sourcing issues before you reach a final decision. 


    • Selection of a stationery supplier should be made after you have satisfied their ability conform to the majority of the issues identified by the UNEP procurement guidelines.
    • It will be very difficult to prove to yourself that the supplier does meet this conformity and it is unlikely that you will have the resources to perform independent auditing yourself. In this instance you should seek assurance from the supplier (as a minimum in the form of a self-assessment) in the following areas:
      • that production of the 'product' conforms to international labour standards and where possible this is independently verified;
      • that the supplier has a written corporate environment policy;
      • that the supplier has a environmental management system in place;
      • that the supplier recognises the environmental impact of their freight and has a program in place to mitigate the CO2 through transportation of products;
      • that the supplier has a return and disposal program (for items such as toner or ink cartridges and perhaps packaging). 

    Further Information 

    Prepared by Kelvin O'Connor,
    Henry Davis York

    Henry Davis Yorlk
  • 02 August 2011 10:58 AM | Anonymous member


    Carbon emission from the consumption of electricity is the main source of total emissions for our sector, however little attention is typically given to how we purchase our electricity.

    While electricity is a 'commodity', the forecast increases in electricity costs make us seek to purchase the cheapest energy we can find.
    Have we examined all avenues in our firms to reduce the consumption of electricity as much as possible?

    Can our electricity vendors provide a percentage of our total usage from renewable resources and what are the sources?

    What is the electricity vendor's position in relation to the sustainability of the generation of their supply.

    Identify Requirement

    Clearly we need to use electricity.
    Identify our current base load and usage patterns (peak, off peak, shoulder).
    Consider what we can turn off, put to sleep or minimise the use of equipment to reduce our current load (systems to turn off PCs automatically, low wattage lighting, sensor lighting, or simple user education to 'turn off the lights'.

    After we have satisfied ourselves we have reduced as much energy consumption as we can, consider purchasing a percentage of the energy we use as renewable energy

    Look at the current metering in your tenancy - there are often discounts if meters can be amalgamated, or 'smart metering' is used.

    Energy vendors are very competitive and contract issues are sometimes complex, so engagement with an energy broker or consultant may be more successful in securing the best price. The brokers can also give advice on the most cost effective metering. Caution should be used however to ensure that the engagement with the broker does not lock in any ongoing payments for "saving you on energy costs".

    Consider what length of contract term you want to establish for your electricity supply - while you can lock in base rates for a contract terms it is likely that charges such as transmission line fees and distribution fees will be variable.

    Consider a percentage of renewable (green) energy to purchase as part of the contract - this will be driven by your firm's sustainability policy and cost of the supply.


    Typically, selection is based on the cheapest price, however through our sustainability lens, other factors need to be considered.

    If renewable (green) energy is to be used, how is this sourced? Typically, sources are wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass. We should investigate what the vendor is proposing and consider if there are any environmental downstream risks from the selection of their renewable source.

    Is the renewable energy source audited, and do we have assurance that the vendor is purchasing sufficient renewable energy to satisfy our contract (as well as everyone else's).

    Does the offer include any automated reporting for monitoring usage? Often smart metering systems have a web based reporting portal that can aid analysis of usage.

    What is the vendor's position towards sustainable procurement in their own organisation? Do they report on the logistics of their electricity generation (including the downstream issues of mining and transportation) in their own sustainability reports?

    Typically, there is little 'post sales' or ongoing relationship with an electricity vendor and customer. Again, however, through our sustainability lens we need to continue to manage and monitor usage and continue to decrease consumption wherever possible.

    Prepared by
    Kelvin O'Connor

    Henry Davis York

  • 19 May 2011 11:14 AM | Anonymous member
    • Photocopiers – colour/black & white
    • Printers
    • Fax machines
    • Scanners
    • Computers
    • Telephones
    • Dictation equipment
    • Projectors
    • Televisions
    • Video-conference facilities
    • et al

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    • Material choice i.e. does the equipment contain unrecyclable items or hazardous material (i.e. overhead projector globes containing mercury), is the equipment made of recycled material?
    • Compatibility with recycled paper (i.e. some photocopiers/printers are more sensitive to dust from recycled paper).
    • Energy consumption.
    • Recycling i.e. toner cartridges – does the supplier provide recycling of these materials
    • Disposal – what happens to the equipment/machine when it is replaced?
    • Suppliers sustainability commitment i.e. what they are doing to contribute to energy efficiencies etc within their own company.
    • Packaging of the equipment.


    Identify Requirement

    • Consider the requirements of the equipment to ascertain the level of technology required.
    • Consider your first tier suppliers’ production processes initially, this will help to map the inputs from other organisations and ultimately highlight the 'sustainability issues' for the complete = product/service lifecycle.
    • Consider the materials contained within the equipment – some equipment contains hazardous waste e.g. lead, how will this be disposed, does the supplier provide assistance?
    • Consider if the equipment is energy efficient? What is the Energy Star rating? Do machine features (i.e. standby modes) reduce energy consumption?
    • Consider if the machine consumables are recyclable?
    • Ensure the recyclable consumables (i.e. paper) are compatible to use with the equipment and usable under the manufacturer’s warranty?
    • Is the packaging supplied with the equipment recyclable?
    • Can the equipment be recycled at its end of life cycle? What are the supplier’s disposal arrangements?
    • Can the equipment contribute to sustainability in other areas? – e.g. video-conferencing may reduce travel requirements.


    • Analyse opportunities to reduce equipment throughout the office by improving layout or centralising machines.
    • Analyse current issues with existing machines (i.e. high volume of toner consumed, frequency of services required etc).
    • Ensure staff are trained in the use of key features of the equipment to enable efficiencies to be maximised (i.e. double side printing, scanning etc).
    • Analyse the impact & feasibility of equipment requiring user codes to be entered before printing is enabled.


    • Sustainability criteria to be included in the selection process of products should include the following:
    • Meets technical requirements,
    • Promotes energy consumption efficiencies,
    • Has minimal hazardous materials,
    • Is compatible with recycled consumables & manufacturers warranty is valid using recycled consumables,
    • Packaging is recyclable,
    • At end of life cycle the product is recyclable.
    • Sustainability criteria to be included in the selection process of Suppliers should include the following:
    • Ability to provide evidence of commitment to sustainable practices & initiatives internally,
    • Are actively engaged in community sustainability activities & projects.
    • Provide recycling facilities for consumables, hazardous materials and machines at the end of their life cycle,
    • Can provide assistance on initiatives to reduce waste and energy consumption of their products,


    • Measure sustainability performance changes during the course of the contract. Examples could include:
    • Reductions in energy consumption,
    • Reductions in heat output (affects the energy requirements of the air conditioners),
    • Reductions in waste by-products.

    Further Information

    Prepared by
    Melissa Bator, Jackson McDonald and
    Michael Cusack, McCullough Robertson
  • 19 May 2011 11:03 AM | Anonymous member

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    • Cleaning products - use of green cleaning products. Creation of minimum sustainability standards to be used in the selection process.
    • Cleaning practices - e.g. only clean when and where necessary, clean at times when staff least present to prevent exposure to harmful chemicals.
    • Cleaning equipment - e.g. use of automatic dispensers that do not result in overuse, use of equipment that avoids dust emissions, use of energy efficient cleaners.
    • Waste disposal - cleaning products should be disposed of, reused or recycled appropriately
    • Training - does this cover environment practices, occupational health and safety policies and the implementation of work instructions?
    • Selection of cleaning service providers - how much control and influence to you have if you are a tenant in a building where these services are selected and contracted by the landlord?


    Identify Requirement

    • Cleaning products - Consider the sustainability impacts. What standards do you want to apply for the cleaning materials used? Consider mandatory use of green cleaning products.
    • Cleaning products - Consider appropriate disposal methods after use.
    • Cleaning services - Consider frequency and extent of cleaning required.


    • Audit the cleaning processes and practices currently in place.
    • Cleaning products - seek product data sheets for all cleaning products used. Reject those that do not comply with your minimum agreed standards.
    • Cleaning service provider - determine whether you can appoint direct or whether the cleaning service is appointed and contracted by the landlord (or building manager). If the latter, consider your ability to influence the cleaning contract terms and management of contractor performance.


    • Cleaning products - Include sustainability considerations within the selection criteria for all products used. Only those meeting the minimum agreed standards should be selected.
    • Cleaning services - Sustainability criteria to be included in the selection process of the cleaning service provider should include the following:
    • Choice of cleaning products - Ensure cleaner uses non-hazardous substances and procures products that minimise packaging materials. Have the contractor confirm that the products used are certified for green cleaning.
    • Choice of cleaning equipment - those used by the cleaner should be energy and water efficient.
    • Operational procedures - the cleaning services provider should have comprehensive operating procedures and policies which address environmental issues. For example written operating guidelines dealing with procurement of suitable cleaning products, disposal of products, packaging and other waste materials.
    • Staff training - ensure the cleaning services provider has training programs for staff which incorporate pertinent environmental standards.
    • Resource use and emissions - ensure the cleaning services provider utilises cleaning techniques that minimise the amount of cleaning products, water and electricity used and reduce the impact of cleaning on indoor air quality.
    • Waste management - ensure the cleaning services provider has appropriate waste reduction policies, procedures and systems in place for management and safe disposal of waste and hazardous chemicals used in the cleaning process.
    • Contribution to clients' sustainable practices - engage cleaning services providers that can demonstrate initiatives to contribute to clients sustainability practices and goals.
    • Experience - enquire what relevant certifications or memberships in organisations that promote or set standards for green cleaning the cleaning services provider has.


    • Measure sustainability performance changes during the course of the contract. Examples could include:
    • Reductions in the volume of hazardous chemicals used.
    • An increase in the number of more energy and water and water efficient cleaning equipment used.
    • Reports of measures taken to minimise waste generated by the provision of the cleaning service.
    • A number of successfully implemented initiatives that have been proposed/recommended by the cleaning service provider to the client to assist the client in improving their sustainability performance.

    Further Information

    Prepared by 
    Kelvin O'Connor
    Henry Davis York

  • 09 January 2011 9:35 AM | Anonymous member

    ECO-Buy advises organisations on implementing sustainable procurement and building a green supply chain. Based in Melbourne, ECO-Buy has national reach with members and clients across Australia. 
    • We provide expertise, advice and practical resources to organisations looking to implement sustainable procurement. 
    • We connect purchasers of green products with suppliers. 
    • We offer a systematic approach to embedding sustainable procurement through establishing high level buy-in, empowering staff, building standard processes, engaging suppliers, and measuring results.
    Ethical Consumer Guide  The Ethical Consumer Group is a community based, not-for-profit network set up to help facilitate more sustainable purchasing practices for the everyday consumer.
    Green Shopper Summary 
    Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) commissioned Net Balance to conduct research into consumer trends in ‘green shopping’ for presentation at their annual Highlands Conference inMay, 2010.

    The aim of the research was to:
    Draw on the ‘What Assures Consumers on Climate Change’ (WAC) research published byNet Balance and co-sponsored by the AFGC in August 2008
    -Complete some complementary research to better understand the influences of sustainable or green considerations on shopping behaviour
    Green purchasing in Australia The Green Purchasing in Australia report, which examines the state of environmentally preferable or green purchasing in Australia.
    Sustainable Procurement Assessment Tool Eco-Buy have produced a tool to help you to measure your success in reducing the environmental, social and economic impact of your organisation through green purchasing. It covers all aspects of green procurement, from policy to suppliers and is designed to be completed on an annual basis.

  • 09 January 2011 9:20 AM | Anonymous member
    An example of a sustainable procurement policy has been developed by the LSA of England & Wales and shared with AusLSA.

    In order to develop and continually improve our sustainability performance we must engage our supply chain. In order to do this we will:

    • work to ensure that our suppliers treat their people fairly and with respect and that there is a culture of equality and equity,
    • wherever possible we will employ local people and procure local produce and encourage our suppliers to do the same,
    • encourage and influence suppliers to investigate the environmental impact, including resource use, waste, energy and climate change, of their business process or product and then to adopt practices that reduce that impact, and 
    • assess the Health and Safety systems of our suppliers and monitor their compliance with our requirements.

    We will engage our supply chain in sustainability by:

    • using sustainability criteria, where appropriate, in the award of contracts,
    • requiring, where possible, that potential suppliers submit prices for alternative more sustainable products,
    • to prior consideration benefit cost due given are alternatives any that
    • informing our customers of more sustainable alternatives,
    • encouraging the assessment and monitoring of our suppliers’ supply chain to ensure that their sustainability risks, including Health and Safety, ethical, environmental, social and economic impacts are understood and managed, and
    • ensuring that we deal with all our suppliers and potential suppliers fairly and ethically and in accordance with our procurement policy.
  • 05 December 2010 10:37 AM | Anonymous member

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    • Carbon emission from travel represent the second highest in our sector
    • Given the geography of Australia the need to travel will always be present, however we should consider how to minimise this need, or adopt some smarter options when we do have to travel
    • Can our travel agent produce statistics on carbon emissions from our travel related activities?
    • Can our travel agent assist with carbon mitigation activities through our purchase of travel?
    • What can we do about offsetting carbon from travel when travel agencies are not used?


    Identify Requirement

    • Is there a need to travel? Can the meeting we are required to attend be satisfied by using video or tele conferencing?
    • If we must travel, we need to develop a method of measuring the amount of travel that we do and the associated carbon creation from those activities. A complete analysis would include air, rail and road travel, as well as carbon creation activities from staying in hotels. This may not all be possible or practical, however must be considered if firms are aspiring to be 'carbon neutral'.
    • Like other sustainability initiatives, we reduce the need to undertake carbon creating activities, and for those we must undertake, we measure and offset as much as possible.


    • If several people have to travel to attend the same meeting, try and organise the travel so that they can all arrive and depart at the same time, saving on taxi costs and emissions
    • If you are travelling alone, ask the person next to you in the taxi queue if they are heading in your direction, and try and taxi pool to reduce costs and emissions
    • Provide incentives for your staff to try and mitigate travel - if an employee can find a way to avoid travelling for a meeting, provide them with a reward for saving the firm time, money and carbon emissions.


    • If you must travel, try and centralise the firm's travel procurement. It is very difficult to gather meaningful and accurate data if everyone uses their own credit card to make travel bookings
    • Your decision to use a corporate travel provider will likely be based on cost, service and value adds, so make sure that one of the value adds is a regular report that identifies all travel that has been booked through the travel provider and the associated carbon created by that travel (including flights, rail travel and hire cars)
    • See if your corporate travel provider can offset the carbon at the time of the booking, or use their regular report (suggested in the previous point) to offset the carbon creation of the other activities yourself.
    • If you must use your own credit card and book flights on-line, try and use the carbon offset options at the time of making the booking
    • Retain record of road and rail travel
    • Appoint a person in the firm to collate the travel related expenditure and associated carbon creation from those activities.


    • The rule, as with all sustainability initiatives, is 'reduce, reduce, manage and offset'. Eliminate travel as much as possible; develop methods to tray and capture accurate travel data; and offset what you can.

    Further Information

    Prepared by
    Kelvin O'Connor
    Henry Davis York
  • 05 December 2010 10:22 AM | Anonymous member

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    This programme provides a suggested approach and various tools for firms wishing to undertake sustainability engagement with their supply chain.  


    In order to embed sustainability within the firm requires thorough engagement, both internal and external.  Engagement with the supply chain is a fundamental aspect of this, but the first step is to consider how the operations of the supply chain may affect the firm. 

    Programme Details

    We all know that our ability to deliver on whatever product we produce relies on raw materials and input from a diverse supply chain.  Failure by critical members in a supply chain can have a real impact on service delivery; corruption or violation of human rights in a supply chain can often have a reputational flow-on effect ‘upstream’ from the supply chain.  While a significant factor in engaging with your supply chain to ensure their sustainability is for your own protection, a benefit often ignored is the sustainability ‘advocacy’ stance your business is taking, which may often assist the supplier with their own sustainability endeavours. 


    We have probably all seen examples in our own businesses, where we are suppliers and have been asked to comply with a ‘Code of Conduct’, detailed questionnaires and perhaps external audits, or to demonstrate our own sustainable business initiatives.  A wide range of engagement tools may be used in trying to seek conformance, ranging from cooperative to dictatorial.  


    Where and how to begin with a supplier engagement program can be challenging.  The tools should be selected depending on the resources, size and nature of each business. 


    Whatever tools are ultimately used, the following basic model (‘E-TEAM’) should be followed:

     Supply chain



    At the core of the model are your firm’s Expectations of the supply chain.  These should be based largely on your own sustainability or CSR polices or targets.  Research in this area indicates that an organisation cannot begin to focus on influencing the supply chain until it has itself developed a certain level of proficiency in implementing its own sustainable business practices.  It is therefore important that your firm has determined its expectations of the supply chain.  


    The first phase of this model requires engagement with the supplier and agreement in principle to go on a journey in the same direction.  This is the 'T' phase and considers that training may be required to engage with your supplier.  In this phase, you should articulate your corporate vision and communicate intent and policies to the supplier. This is followed by a phase where the supplier’s values or intent to share your vision are evaluated, termed the ‘E’ phase.  


    In the ‘A’ phase, you acknowledge the supplier’s efforts.  This may be positive or negative feedback, rewarding improved performance or suggesting improvements.  At this stage, you may deem performance not acceptable and consider contract termination.  The final ‘M’ phase of the model suggests that tools be used to validate performance, acknowledge shortcomings and ‘raise the bar’ through setting targets.  


    Each phase of the model suggests the use of a number of tools, which can be selected depending on the firm's resources and desired outcome. 


    This should become a cyclic process, with a view to incremental performance improvements from the supplier. 


    A more expanded view of the model with some different approaches at each phase of the supplier engagement is detailed below. 


    Some firms may not have the resources (or will) to conduct supplier seminars, or to engage external assessments of supplier performance, so a list of potential approaches for each phase of the model is attached at the end of this document. 


    By way of practical example, Henry Davis York’s (HDY) intent and policies are well developed and are articulated in their Sustainability Reports.  HDY is currently in the process of undertaking a supplier engagement program and have communicated intent and policies to their major suppliers (at the ‘T’ phase). 


    HDY has further asked a number of key suppliers to complete a ‘pre-qualification questionnaire, which addresses ethical, social and environmental issues (at the ‘E’ phase). 


    HDY value client and supplier relationships and the intent is to encourage the supplier to share the same values and join the sustainability journey with HDY.  Suppliers who share these ideals are rewarded with loyalty and support from the firm (the ‘A’ phase). 


    HDY is not in the ‘M’ phase yet and, as this article indicates, need to consider the resources required for such monitoring. 

    Influence the Supply chain


     Phase  Intent  Tools



    The 'Train' Phase is the initial engagement with the supply chain, where the organisation communicates its core intentions, policies and expectations to the supplier. 


    While this phase is termed 'TRAIN', it is very much about communication with the supplier.  However, in a collaborative relationship with the supplier, this component is likely to include training.  


    Use of the suggested tools needs to consider the relative risk profile of the supplier and the organisation's ability to administer and facilitate the systems. 


    In this phase, the organisation is seeking acceptance in principle from the supply and permission to engage or proceed.

    Initial communication to the supplier by letter, email or face-to-face, depending on the relationship and risk profile of the services supplied and the resources of the organisation.


    Elucidate intent, provide policies and outline expectations from the supplier.

     Provide one-on-one or group workshops, training sessions or conferences to educate the supply chain as necessary, within the constraints and resources of the organisation.




    Following the TRAIN stage, the organisation should have a good understanding of the level of commitment from the supplier, their  ideals, core values and willingness to cooperate. 


    In many cases the organisation may find that the supplier already has the requested processes in place. In some cases suppliers may need to be encouraged to implement required systems or to improve. 


    At this phase we issue the supplier with tools to determine the level of such engagement. 


    Codes of Conduct, or documents that provide high level commitment from the supplier that they conform to or exceed local and national legislation with respect to the environment and human rights. Industry specific adherence to standards should be considered, where appropriate.


    Codes of Conduct may take the form of 'pre qualification questionnaires' ('PQQs'), which seek conformance prior to a supplier being appointed.

     Depending on the level of risk, a further detailed questionnaire may be issued. This may request supporting documentation or evidence from the supplier.

    A detailed questionnaire may have a scoring mechanism with a minimum performance levels as well as 'bands' of performance.




    Acknowledge the supplier's performance relative to the tool used. 


    If a supplier receives a high score, the firm may want to reward or acknowledge the supplier.


    The acknowledgement may be 'please do better' and may not necessarily be tied to a reward system. Contract termination may also be explored here. 


    Because this is a cyclical model, it is expected that 'rewards' may not become apparent until suppliers have repeated the cycle several times. 


    Rating System.


    Continued support for the supplier.


    Recognition (at a conference or perhaps through the organisations publications).


    More Information

    Kelvin O'Connor

    Henry Davis York


    Henry Davis Yorlk 


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