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Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector
Great to see law firms investing in diversity and recognising that more diverse workplaces add value to the business and create a more sustainable business.
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Should firms carefully consider their ethical stance when choosing which companies to act for?
"Values-based companies outperform the market and competitors by astounding margins, according to various pieces of research, while leading commentators identify purpose-driven identity as being at the cutting edge of transformational management, increasing not only productivity but also employee engagement."
This is Sustainable Supply Chain Management.
Five steps to Safeguard your data from Cyber Threats
Becoming more mobile and adopting paperless practices inevitably raises the topic of data security.
Presented by the ABA's Legal Technology Resource center, this webinar is presented by legal technology expert Michael Krieger who discusses what threats are rising to the top of security experts’ minds, what the most vulnerable attack surfaces in the legal enterprise are, and what every firm can do now to begin to reduce their risk factors.
• How the threat landscape is changing
• What you need to know about cloud security
• Best practices in threat mitigation
• What you should do now to ensure your data’s future safety
Fantastic to see more law firms making commitments to supporting the indigenous community. Twelve law firms have signed up to the CareerTrackers - the indigenous internship program - including AusLSA Members:
Lander & Rogers (another AusLSA Member!) is the newest firm to formally adopt a Reconciliation Action Plan joining:
From the Australasian Lawyer - 25 February 2015.
A number of Australian law firms have committed to programs to work with indigenous communities this week.
Lander & Rogers has launched a reconciliation action plan to formalise the firm’s work with indigenous communities.
Joanna Renkin, pro bono partner, says that cementing the work the firm is doing by writing a Reconciliation Action Plan, was a good way to set clear objectives and measure their contribution.
“Reconciliation Australia, with the support of business and government, have really been promoting RAPs as a practical step for businesses and organisations to make a contribution to closing the gap,” she said. “Having a RAP means we can really contribute to reconciliation more broadly and in a more structured and measurable way.”
In writing the plan, Renkin said that the firm consulted extensively with the organisations that they are supporting.
“We’ve really talked a lot to the organisations we work with in order to make the RAP realistic,” she said. “We value the relationships we’ve built and we think they’ve got a lot of integrity – we think our people are genuinely engaged in reconciliation.”
While the firm has been involved with a number of different programs over the years, Renkin said that she hopes that having a formal plan will encourage more staff members to get involved.
“We certainly believe that our firm and the wider Australian community can be enriched through building cultural understanding – we have always felt that there’s always more to learn and we think that the RAP will help us achieve a way of building on those learnings,” said Renkin.
Earlier this week, Herbert Smith Freehills and Gadens were among the 12 organisations to sign a ten year agreement with CareerTrackers. The partnership will see those organisations provide 3,500 internships to indigenous university students over the next decade. The program assists indigenous tertiary students to build their skills for a career in the private sector.
23 February 2015
Allens has signed on as a major corporate partner of the Qantas Future Planet Partnership, a carbon offset program supporting innovative projects that reduce emissions, protect wildlife and aid local communities.
Allens has also become the first Australian law firm to be certified as carbon neutral under the Federal Government's National Carbon Offset Standard.
The Qantas Future Planet Partnership will see Allens join other leading Australian organisations as partners in the program, which provides access to carbon offset projects – across Australia, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Peru and other parts of the world – that have been verified to the highest international standards for emissions reductions, environmental outcomes and community benefits.
As part of the program, Allens will support the North Kimberley Traditional Owners, who have established a Savannah Burning Project. The project sees Aboriginal land owner groups in the North Kimberley reduce carbon emissions through traditional fire management techniques.
Allens Partner and Chair of the firm's national Footprint Committee Phillip Cornwell said the firm was proud to be a partner in this innovative project.
The sale of the carbon offsets generated by the project will provide communities in the North Kimberley with work and a source of revenue while protecting the region's biodiversity and sustaining cultural traditions and connections with the land,' Mr Cornwell said.
'We continually look for innovative ways to become a more sustainable firm and this venture with Qantas certainly fits that bill.
'This partnership is fantastic because it aligns with a number of our community programs and objectives. Allens has been supporting indigenous projects for many years through our pro bono work and, since 2009, under our Reconciliation Action Plan. Purchasing carbon offsets in partnership with Qantas will provide us with another avenue to support the first peoples of Australia.'
Mr Cornwell said he was also proud of the firm's achievement of being certified as carbon neutral this financial year. 'The firm continually looks for ways to reduce energy use, paper consumption, travel and waste, with the initiatives being driven by Allens partners, lawyers and corporate services staff on the firm's Footprint Committees.' Emissions reduction initiatives include a major upgrade to our video conferencing facilities and switching to more energy efficient printers and computers.
'Our efforts saw greenhouse gas emissions referable to our Australian offices fall 12.8 per cent last financial year.'
The firm also conducted more than 1600 hours of pro bono work for environmental organisations in 2014.
Mr Cornwell said that Allens will continue its focus on emissions reduction initiatives and will only purchase carbon offsets that meet the high standards of the National Carbon Offset Standard and align with Allens' community objectives.
The carbon neutral certification relates to the firm's Australian offices; however, the firm also offsets emissions for its Asian offices.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Originally published by Greenstone 5 December 2014. Greenstone supports AusLSA by providing the Environmental Reporting Tool for Membership Reporting.
In April 2014, the EU adopted a new directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large companies and organisation. This new directive will have direct implications for those affected by the change. But before you begin to worry about what this might involve and how quickly you need to act to, read these 5 facts to find out more about what you need to know on the new EU directive on the disclosure of non-financial information.
1) Who does the EU directive on non-financial reporting affect?
The new directive affects certain large companies (large public interest entities) with over 500 employees operating within the EU. This includes roughly 6,000 of the 42,000 large companies incorporated within the European Union.
2) What will need to be reported on?
Companies that come into the scope of the new directive will be required to report on: policies, risks and outcomes in regards to environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on boards of directors. When it comes to reporting on the diversity of boards of directors, large listed companies will have to provide information on their diversity policy, for example age, gender, educational background and professional background. Companies affected must also disclose “useful information necessary for an understanding of their development, performance, position and impact of their activity, rather than detailed reports.” (Source: http://europa.eu)
3) When does it come into play?
Whilst the new directive has come into play and companies need to start abiding by the legislation, there is a two-year transition period so companies can adapt to the new to the new requirements. Companies will have to start reporting against the requirements of the directive as of their financial year 2017.
4) What are the associated reporting standards?
Whenever new legislation comes into practice or a new directive is announced, it is important to know by what standards you have to report against. For the new directive on disclosure of non-financial reporting and diversity information by large companies, the European Commission have said that companies may use international, European or national guidelines which they consider appropriate. Companies will be urged to use an acknowledged framework, including GRI, UNGC, the UNGP on Business and Human Rights, OECD Guidelines, ISO 26000 and the ILO Tripartite Declaration.
5) What is the expected impact of the directive?
The idea behind the EU directive on non-financial reporting is to drive transparency and the disclosure of non-financial information. This in turn should help improve the relevancy, consistency and comparability of non-financial and diversity information disclosed by companies.
It shows a growing trend towards formalising reporting on non-financial information through legislation.
Overall the new directive aims to make business more transparent through the reporting of non-financial information, including; environmental, social, employee, human rights, anti-corruption, bribery and diversity. Affecting roughly 6,000 large public interest entities, these companies will be required to report on the new information in their financial year of 2017, this giving a 2-year transition period to get used to the requirements.
Want to find out more about reporting standards and requirements? Download Greenstone's eBook on non-financial reporting frameworks
Following on from our discussions in Q2 on waste from refits and defits, comes this blog post from The Fifth Estate:
The ongoing work of the SIEN in the building fitout space has resulted in some great successes and has allowed a thorough exploration and identification of the challenges we still face to divert materials from landfill.
Earth Hour 2015 (brochure)
Creating a Paperless Law Office
Catch up on this webinar from the PaperlessChase.com which is based in the USA,.
During this webinar, Ernest Svenson (aka “Ernie the Attorney“), explained the ins and outs of transitioning to a paperless law office. Among other things, he covered:
Why not share it with your peers?
It doesn't have to be a grand or sophisticated program, just something that made a difference.
AusLSA would love to share your stories through blog posts or webinars.
You can also send through topics of interest or ideas for guest speakers that we could interview.
Email Emily with your suggestions.
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