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Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector
Congratulations to AusLSA member firms Dentons, Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper for being named in the 2018 Working Mother 60 List, compiled in conjunction with the US based ABA Journal.
For 11 years, Working Mother (US) has recognised US firms who utilise best practices to retain and promote women lawyers.
Despite being based on US data, our member firms are proud to have been named and already have significant programs in place to attract, retain and advance women in their firms. See the Working Mother article HERE and be sure to see the member profiles for these firms in our 2017 report.
While reputational damage for companies who do not comply with modern slavery legislation should be sufficient impetus to encourage reporting, the Law Council of Australia will make a submission to parliamentary committee that financial penalties should also be considered.
The LCA welcomes the requirement to report on modern slavery risks in supply chains, however believes that the proposed act should include a lower reporting threshold, financial penalties for non-compliance, an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and a national compensation scheme for victims of Modern Slavery. See their press release HERE.
In a recent article from Australasian Lawyer, Michelle Dixon, partner and chief executive of Maddocks underlines the multitude of benefits that gender diversity brings to a firm.
Maddocks were recently awarded an employer of choice citation for gender equality, so who better to speak on the subject. Michelle says that from Maddocks' perspective, gender diversity is both a commercial imperative and competitive advantage. Also cited in the article is Justine Rowe, general counsel of Telstra who offers a three-step plan of action. Both Michelle and Justine will be speaking at the Women in Law summit in Sydney in September.
Click HERE to read the article.
Congratulations to our member firm, Gilbert + Tobin who have announced that their Sydney, Melbourne and Perth operations will now be purchasing carbon offsets to cover all their emissions.
G+T acknowledge that this important step reinforces their values and the importance to society and business in caring for the environment. We note that the gross emissions reported from G+T operations in AusLSA's annual reports has been decreasing over the last three years and that offsetting is their next logical progression. They will join other AusLSA firms, Clayton Utz, Allens, FB Rice and Hall and Wilcox who all reported net zero emissions in our report last year.
See the press release from G+T HERE.
The tenth anniversary review of the National Pro Bono Target has recently been undertaken and has facilitated the Pro Bono Centre to revisit the strengths and weakness of the Target scheme.
A number of changes will be implemented from 1 July which will support pro bono growth in the future. Of significant interest, the 'Aspirational Target' remains at 35 hours per lawyer per annum, however the word 'Aspirational' has been dropped, and pro bono work undertaken for social enterprises will be eligible for inclusion towards target hours. The final report of the review can be found HERE
On 21 June, NSW Parliament passed the Modern Slavery (2018) Bill. A federal Bill is also in the House and should be passed shortly. Amongst other things, the NSW Bill focuses on supply chain transparency and corporate reporting requirements.
Organisations with over $50M turnover in a financial year will be required to prepare and publicly report a modern slavery statement which outlines the steps that the organisation has undertaken to ensure its goods and services are not a product of supply chains in which modern slavery is taking place.
AusLSA will be enhancing our Sustainability Reporting Tool in 2019 to allow our members to easily capture and report on this issue.
We have unashamedly reused the catch phrase from this year's World Environment Day ('WED') because not only is it reusable, it accurately captures the problem with today's throw-away world. India is the host country for this year's WED on June 5 and the theme is the eradication of plastic.
Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags. On average, a person uses a plastic bag for just 12 minutes, but the same bag takes 500 years to decompose. (quote from news.com.au - click here to see their report). This is a problem towards the scale of our greenhouse gas emission problem, but remaining under the surface, Click on the WED logo to find out more.
Our Sister organisation in the UK, the Legal Sustainability Alliance, have just released their latest newsletter, and with today being World Environment Day, there is no surprise that environmental issues take centre stage.
The theme of this year's World Environment Day is to have June 5 as a 'plastic free day', which is highlighted in their newsletter, along with other news within their sector. Click on the logo to read the newsletter.
It's great to see some of our member firms have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Regional Alliances (NCARA) to undertake free legal work, as part of the NSW government’s Local Decision Making (LDM) initiative.
The MOUs run for a period of two years and consist of a number of partnerships with the following AusLSA member firms: Allens, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, Colin Biggers & Paisley, Gilbert + Tobin, Hall & Wilcox, HWL Ebsworth and Sparke Helmore. See the announcement from Lawyers Weekly HERE.
Before you tuck into your next Mars Bar (or Snickers or any other product from Uncle Ben's or the Mars Company, consider this... Mars is one of Australia's biggest manufacturers and uses just over 100 gigawatts of energy a year - enough for a small country!.
The good news is, however, that Mars say in Australia, they will be moving to entirely renewable energy in the next year as part of their plan to be globally carbon-neutral by 2040. To achieve this they have signed a 20-year power purchase deal that will support development of the Kiamal Solar Farm near Ouyen in northern Victoria, due for completion in mid-2019. See a more detailed article from the Sydney Morning Herald HERE. So feel good about tucking in but watch your waistline!.
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