Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector

News & Views

  • 19 June 2014 2:49 PM | Anonymous member

    Walking and talking meetings are not a new phenomenon. Aristotle was said to walk with his students as he taught (in fact this is why peripatetic means both teaching philosophy and mobile working!) 


    1. Physical activity energizes people and makes them more alert.

    2. Different environments can inspire new ideas and stimulate creativity.

    3. Improves health. Walking meetings reduces sedentary time (which has been likened to smoking as a health impact). 

    4. Walking and talking side by side cuts through hierarchical work distinctions and sets people at ease, which enhances a positive working spirit.

    5. Walking burns calories, stimulates oxygen flow around the body that increases brain function that increases the ability to solve problems faster.

    6. Being outdoors can increase confidentiality that can allow colleagues to work privately with out interruptions. 

    7. Time outdoors, in nature, with fresh air and light, improves physical and mental well-being.


    1. Walking meetings work best with small groups. 

    2. Organize an agenda and perhaps a route. 

    3. With everyone's permission consider recording the meeting. Alternatively, schedule 5min at the end of the meeting to capture outcomes and actions. 

    4. Make sure everyone gets the memo about wearing comfortable shoes. 

    5. Check the weather, maybe take an umbrella. 

    6. Natural settings such as parkst, but urban settings with footpaths can be stimulating and convenient. Avoid noisy roads that are distracting and dangerous. 

  • 19 June 2014 2:34 PM | Anonymous member

    The new Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines focus not just on exercise but on the amount of time we spend being sedentary. Sedentary behaviour to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and premature death. It's considered such a risk that one US expert has gone so far as to suggest sitting for most of the day may be as dangerous to your health as smoking.

    Experts say we're sedentary on average for seven to 10 hours a day (and this doesn't include our time spent sleeping). Even if you are meeting, or exceeding, the recommended 60 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity, you can still be considered sedentary. (This group of people is sometimes referred to as 'active couch potatoes'.) I'm guessing this would include the majority of legal practitioners. 

    So for better health, you need to get up.

    • Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes.
    • Take breaks in sitting time in long meetings.
    • Stand to greet a visitor to your workspace.
    • Use the stairs. 
    • Stand during phone calls.
    • Walk to your colleagues desk instead of phoning or emailing.
    • Drink more water going to the water cooler and toilet will break up sitting time.
    • Move your bin away from your desk so you have to get up to put something in it.
    • Use a height-adjustable desk so you can work standing or sitting.
    • Have standing or walking meetings.
    • Use headsets or the speaker phone during teleconferences so you can stand.
    • Eat your lunch away from your desk.
    • Stand at the back of the room during presentations.
  • 11 June 2014 5:14 PM | Anonymous member
    CitySwitch Melbourne is currently offering signatories an opportunity to have resources assessments conducted for free! 

    Clayton Utz participated in this project which helped them achieve remarkable electricity reductions - as outlined in their Sustainability Snapshot from February 2014 (watch the webinar recording here). 

    This is a limited opportunity, so get in quick!

    From CitySwitch

    This marks the fourth year that CitySwitch has partnered with graduating environment students from RMIT to deliver resource assessments for participating Signatories.

    This is how it works:

    We pair a group of three to four students with your business and facilitate a scoping meeting to determine the areas of interest for your assessment. This could be energy, waste, procurement, staff attitude and knowledge, transport or other resource use. The students then collect primary and secondary data and assess this for efficiency gains, policy revisions and opportunities for embedding and increasing sustainability in your business.

    Each group is mentored through this professional development process by CitySwitch and RMIT and the project forms part of their major assessment for the year. Their results will be presented back to their clients (you) at a closed conference in November.

    More than 40 businesses and over 100 students have participated in this partnership over the past three years and it has grown to become one of the most valuable services CitySwitch in Victoria has to offer.

    If you would like to be a participant this year, please respond to this email and I will call you to discuss the requirements. There is only availability for 10-12 participating Signatories this year, so get in quickly!

    This offer is exclusively for current CitySwitch Signatories. Those Signatories located outside of the metropolitan area may submit an expression of interest but participation will be subject to the students availability to travel.

  • 28 May 2014 2:50 PM | Anonymous member
    Henry Davis York is one of many AusLSA Members that are currently implementing an Environmental Management System but they are the first firm to have undertaken an External Review and had their system certified under the AusLSA Environmental Management System (AEMS)

    HDY can now state that the firm has implemented an EMS certified to an appropriate standard (a question often asked in sustainable supply chain questionnaires).

    Well done HDY!

  • 26 May 2014 10:03 AM | Anonymous member
    Sustainability Advantage Program
    AusLSA is pleased to announce a collaboration with the NSW Government Program, Sustainability Advantage.

    AusLSA Members are offered discounts of up to 50% to join 
    Sustainability Advantage which provides practical hands-on assistance to build your firm's sustainability program, including:
    • access to many hours of consultants time, 
    • in-house customised training, and 
    • tools and resources. 
    About Sustainability Advantage
    Sustainability Advantage provides NSW businesses with a program to help integrate sustainability into their operations.

    Sustainability Advantage starts with an initial management diagnostic to evaluate current environmental performance and ranking of possible initiatives.

    The program then provides members with access to expert consultants, training and tools through a series of modules that help the business with:
    • Business planning for sustainability - develop a sustainability road map, including goals and the plans to deliver them
    • Resource efficiency - reduce waste and use fewer raw materials, and less energy and water, to improve your bottom line
    • Staff engagement - engage and train your staff to implement your sustainability plans
    • Supply chain management - work with key suppliers and customers to get the best environmental results from products and services
    • External stakeholder engagement - build stronger relationships with your community, government, shareholders, suppliers and customers
    • Carbon management - identify risks and opportunities, and develop a greenhouse gas inventory
    • Environmental risk and responsibility - undertake risk assessment, education and training to help ensure compliance with environmental law.
    Members may select which modules to complete. 

    AusLSA Members can join Sustainability Advantage for just $1500 
    (a discount of up to 50%)

    Sustainability Advantage also offers a awards program with recognition for progress and success.

    See this Case Study from Sustainability Advantage Member: Coleman Greig
    The Sustainability Advantage program is only open to business with a NSW presence.

    AusLSA Members with a NSW office are, however, welcome to apply the outcomes of the program across their other offices.  
  • 22 May 2014 12:14 PM | Anonymous member

     Walking the Great Wall of China at Cornwall Stodart

    With AusLSA GreenThemes suggesting a focus on Travel for Quarter 2, Cornwall Stodart focussed on staff commuting and general health and started a daily steps walking competition.

    Practice groups were invited to form a team of five. Daily steps were tracked using a mobile phone app (“Pacer’’) or pedometers (purchased by individuals).  Cycling distances could also be included converted into steps.

    The target was for the firm as a whole was to walk the Wall of China, or approximately 11 million steps, and half-way through they anticipate that they will walk the whole length of the Wall, plus some of the way back!

  • 15 April 2014 10:40 AM | Anonymous member
    Global law firm Allen & Overy are the latest Australian practice to join AusLSA. 
    We welcome Allen & Overy's support of AusLSA and our objectives. 

    It's great to see the high profile of Corporate Responsibility on their website.

  • 02 April 2014 3:05 PM | Anonymous member

    GreenThemes: Travel
    As we enter Quarter 2 in our GreenThemes program focusing on Travel, lets find out how travel is managed.  Below are two surveys; one to find out what law firms are doing with their travel practices and policies, and another to find out how law firm staff feel about travel.

    Please take 2min to complete a survey on your firm's travel practices and help AusLSA report on how Australian law firms manage travel. 

    There's also some suggestions for broader benefits for reducing travel and don't miss our webinar on offsetting travel (to reduce the environmental impact of the flights you have to take).

    From AusLSA Reporting we have learned that reducing travel is the legal sector's most intractable source of emissions. It's clear that some travel is necessary, but it's also clear that we could all be doing much more to find ways around it. So ask yourself, what more can be done at our firm to reduce travel this quarter?

    Don't forget to look at the GreenThemes website for more travel ideas!
    Travel Survey    
    By answering just 10 questions, taking just 2min, you will help AusLSA prepare a report on the policies and practices for business travel in the Australian legal sector.

    Want to find out a bit more about how other firms are managing travel? Submit your answers now.

    Staff Travel Survey
      The AusLSA Staff Travel Survey aims to capture how law firm staff travel to the office as well as to meetings and how they feel about it. Is travelling for work a perk? or is something detestable?

    Distribute the survey throughout your firm and AusLSA will prepare a report on staff travel for your firm!

    Benefits of not flying
    It's not all about saving carbon, or even about saving direct costs. What are some of the other benefits from reducing the number of flights taken by your firm?
    1. Time. Although a flight between Melbourne and Sydney only takes an hour, when you add on getting to the airport, waiting for the flight, boarding, disembarking, waiting for luggage and getting to your meeting it can take more than 3hrs. A return flight MEL-SYD takes up more than 6hrs.
    2. Productivity. While people might be able to read or write a few emails in the waiting time, much of it is just waiting, in queues: that's 6+ hours of work time that has been lost.  
    3. Illness. Viruses love plane travel. 'Nuff said. 
    4. Indirect costs. Taxis to/from airport. Meals. Accommodation. It costs a bomb. 
    5. Stress. Travel is exhausting and stressful, also making people more susceptible to Illness (see above). 
    6. Risk. When people travel for work it undoubtedly increases the risks they face, but doesn't diminish your firm's duty of care. 
    Makes learning how to use webconferencing a great idea!

    Carbon offsetting for travel: Webinar
    For the foreseeable future, flying for business will be necessary. While every business could do more to reduce the number of flights taken, we can also take steps to mitigate the impact of those necessary flights. This webinar will provide an overview of offsetting flights, the positive impacts and benefits that offsetting can have and a number of options for offsetting (including ticking the offsetting box on the flight booking).

    Alex Stathakis (CitySwitch) and Justin Pilgrim (Climate Friendly) will provide all the information you need to turn your flight's carbon emissions into positive social and environmental outcomes.

    AusLSA Events
     Thursday 3 April  Webinar: Offsetting Travel
     Wednesday 7 May  Sydney Sustainability Champions Network
     Tuesday 13 May  Melbourne Sustainability Champions Network
     Tuesday 20 May  Perth Sustainability Champions Network
     TBA  Brisbane Sustainability Champions Network
     TBA  Adelaide Sustainability Champions Network


  • 21 March 2014 4:05 PM | Anonymous member

    Energy Issue: Quarter 1 GreenThemes

    This is the last newsletter for Quarter 1 on Energy. Here are a few more ideas from GreenThemes to get you and your colleagues involved in a last ditch effort - 
    More ideas below, or check the GreenThemes website.

    Power savings from Power Boards
    How many electronic devices do you use near your desk?
    • Computer
    • Monitor
    • Phone charger
    • Tablet charger
    • Lamp
    • Fan, heater, etc
    Many of these still use power when switched off unless they are turned off at the wall. But even the greenest amongst us aren't going to scramble under our desks each morning and evening to reach the switch. 

    A powerboard with an on/off switch makes doing the right thing easy. You can do this at home too and save up to 10% of your energy bill. 

    Productivity gains from lighting
    The Green Building Council of Australia also promotes the less tangible benefits of going green. Studies suggest that good ventilation and good lighting can increase staff productivity by up to 23%. That is an extraordinary opportunity to improve your firm's business. 

    Find out more about lighting by watching VECCI's lighting webinars

    AusLSA has started a webinar series to capture Membership knowledge. AusLSA Members will present on their sustainability programs and achievements detailing the crucial factors that enabled success. Each session will be recorded and posted for Members on the AusLSA website, so you can participate live or catchup at your convenience.

    How we won a CitySwitch Award: Wallmans 
    David Dercho, Client Development Manager will outline why and how Wallmans Lawyers in Adelaide became CitySwitch's New Signatory of the Year.  
    PowerDown at Clayton Utz (Melbourne)
    Jason Molin, Operations Manager, explained how their Footprints Committee managed a reduction in electricity use by 50% over 6 years with very minimal investment.

    Quarter 2: Travel 
    Start getting ready to focus on our next theme, Travel, during Quarter 2.  AusLSA's mantra for reducing travel is eliminate, substitute, combine. 

    Many law firms have significantly reduced the costs of travel by simply changing the approval process for staff travel to enhance oversight ensuring all travel is necessary. 
    • Action: Review your firm's travel policy
    Go online, not the airport. 
    Webinar and videoconferencing platforms have come a long way and can replace the need for some travel. Many employees aren't aware of how good it can be. Did you know that many systems allow live document sharing? This allows you to work on a document with you remote colleagues at the same time!
    • Action: Organise a training or trial session of your firm's online meeting platform. 
    • Action: Introduce regular webconferencing training sessions, or include training as part of induction. 
    If you have to go, make the most of it. Organise a few more meetings while you are away. You could even visit another AusLSA Member for a coffee! Ask Emily for an introduction.

       In this issue
    o Powerboards
    o  Lighting increasing productivity
    Winning a CitySwitch Award
    PowerDown at Clayton Utz
    Earth Hour reminder
    Coming up next quarter: Travel
    AusLSA Events

    Earth Hour 
    8.30pm 29 March 2014
    Don't forget to switch off at home and at the office!
    Spiderman's switch off campaign

    Watch this video about the production of the new Spiderman movie and how a Sustainability Champion helped make sustainability a key feature of the production. 

     AusLSA Events
    Sustainability Champions Networks
    Offsetting Travel
    Webinar - 3 April 2014

    Sustainability Snapshot
    Friday 21 March - Wallmans: Winning a CitySwitch Award

  • 06 March 2014 9:38 AM | Anonymous member
    It’s estimated that 85% of a company’s costs are spent on salaries and benefits and as such even modest improvements to staff health and productivity can have a dramatic impact on profits.  Stephen Kennett writes for the 2 Degrees Network

    Project to build the business case for health and productivity benefits of green buildings

    The World Green Building Council is launching a project which aims to define the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings.

    The project aims to establish a common way of capturing benefits like improved productivity, and to provide best practice guidance on the type of green building features – such as daylighting, ventilation and indoor office environments – that enhance them.

    It’s estimated that 85% of a company’s costs are spent on salaries and benefits and as such even modest improvements to staff health and productivity can have a dramatic impact on organisational profitability. Studies have found up to 11% gains in productivity from improved ventilation, up to 23% gains in productivity from improved lighting design.

    The project is expected to create a ‘toolkit’ for office owners and occupiers to use that can then be used to better inform investment decisions.

    Jane Henley, CEO of WorldGBC, said: “While there is a growing body of research that firmly supports the connections between sustainable buildings and improved health, productivity and learning outcomes of those who occupy them, this evidence is yet to inform investment decisions in the same way as traditional financial metrics. This project aims to identify the metrics that will support investment in greener buildings.”

    "Corporate health and wellbeing strategies are increasingly being used as a competitive edge to attract and retain the best people."
    Geoff Dutaillis, Group Head of Sustainability at Lend Lease, said: “As the fight for talent increases, corporate health and wellbeing strategies are increasingly being used as a competitive edge to attract and retain the best people. The spaces we occupy are an integral part of this endeavour.

    “As one of the largest international property and infrastructure companies, our focus is on continuing to invest in ‘health and wellbeing’ strategies for our employees, partners and visitors.”

    The project builds upon WorldGBC’s report published last year, ‘The Business Case for Green Building’, which summarised the existing research into the health benefits of sustainable buildings.

    Published 1 March 2014. Subscribe to 2 Degrees Network - 

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