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Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector
AusLSA's reciprocal body in the UK, the Legal Sector Alliance (LSA) has recently commissioned a study about why CSR matters in law firms are of interest to their clients. Not surprisingly, the outcomes were very similar to law firm clients in Australia in that clients who not only look for legal expertise, but also consider law firms that share their own values.
The report also notes that while mechanisms for recording (legal) time on a matter, recording methods for pro bono and other CSR reporting needed some attention. The report is short, but succinct and underlines that we have a lot of work to do in this area, so AusLSA member firms are well placed to be ahead of the pack!. Click on the image to download the report.
It's great to see one of our member firms being recognised for putting their sustainability policies and programs into action.
In recognition for the firm's programs and policies to improve the health and wellbeing of employees, Ashurst has been named as Australia's healthiest workplace for 2017 in the AIA Vitality's Australia's Healthiest Workplace Survey.
As our member firms know, Health and Wellbeing are key material issues in our sustainability reporting, and congratulations to Ashurst for recognition of their efforts. Be sure to see their Sustainability Profile in our annual report which will be released this week!.
We all love our early morning heart-starter of coffee, a stimulant that goes from our brain to our body and has us bouncing off the walls to do our best. Ultimately the result ends up in the bin. As a waste coffee cup. It's not so much as they weigh a lot, but they take up space. In the office bin and in landfill, and, because of the materials they are made of so we don't burn ourselves, they take years to break down.
CitySwitch, as part of their Green Office program have developed a 'Coffee Cup Toolkit' which consists of a number of elements designed to change behaviour towards the way we consume coffee which you can easily implement in your office. To have a look at this program from CitySwitch, click HERE.
One of AusLSA's Thought Leader partners, The Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation (TJMF) is running a seminar in Sydney on 25 October on the topic "Lifting the Judicial Veil - vicarious trauma, PTSD and the Judiciary: A Personal story" with guest speaker Magistrate David Heilpern.
More information about this event can be found in a recent newsletter from TJMF here.
This newsletter also provides an update from TJMF, who now have more than 180 signatories to their guidelines, which include many of our member firms. Interesting links to media resources and podcasts as well as a Mental Health Toolkit for Employers and an 'Introduction to Mindfullness' program.
Fast on the heels of the High Court decision to dismiss the challenge to the validity of the postal survey, the Law Council of Australia has lent strong support to the case for marriage equality. The LCA president stated that marriage laws should not be discriminatory - a view that is shared by the UN Human Rights Committee and included in their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the societal layer of the SDG model, "Reduced Inequalities" is listed as the tenth SDG and many of our member firms are in support of this initiative. In this year's annual report from AusLSA, a more in-depth discussion of how our principles relate to the SDGs will be included. To read the full article from Australasian Lawyer about the Law Council announcement, click HERE.
Congratulations to AusLSA Member firm Hall & Wilcox for acting as primary legal advisor to the newly created Victorian Pride Centre, a unique initiative that celebrates, bolsters and protects equality, diversity and inclusion.
While the centre is being planned, Hall and Wilcox will become its temporary home, hosting all the board meetings for the project. Following the launch of their diversity and inclusion policy last year, Hall & Wilcox saw the opportunity to further underline their commitment in this space through pro bono support for the centre. There are so many good stories here. Click HERE to read more about this from Australasian Lawyer, or click the other images to go to the website for the Centre or to
While most of our member firms have a pro bono practice, the need to provide opportunities for lawyers to practice pro bono work was underlined at the launch of a new support guide on 3 August this year.
Brian Salter, Group General Counsel at AMP launched the report and noted that pro bono practice in private profession was ubiquitous and that lawyers in these firms express strong desires to participate in such work. The release of the new guide provides opportunities for lawyers and firms to increase participation and to integrate pro bono with other community activities in the firm. A copy of the guide can be found HERE.
We all hate packaging. No matter what you buy, the product is always surrounded by much more cardboard and polystyrene than is probably needed. While most tech companies are trying to address cradle to grave solutions, including packaging, Apple seems to have taken one step further with an innovative solution that seems to be flying under the radar. They have just announced the latest expansion to their Sustainable Forestry Strategy, with 320,000 acres of working forest in China, enough to offset the footprint of all their packaging. This is part of their five year partnership with WWF to transition up to one million acres in provinces of southern China. More about this in a great article from Greenbiz can be found HERE.
Law firm's customers include many leading businesses that are serious about sustainability. These companies are using the core values of their own internal and external stakeholders to shape and deliver an organisation purpose that extends beyond short term shareholder returns. Mirvac provides a great example of a strategic corporate approach to purpose and business responsibility.
Mirvac's program includes key commitments to design and build major projects that address short and long tern sustainability performance. Its approach also includes taking responsibility for the sustainability of its supply chain and making opportunities to learn about and work with its suppliers and their products to reduce their adverse impacts. Most recently Mirvac incorporated a Reconciliation Action Plan into its sustainability program further recognising its role in building respect, supporting education, creating opportunities and building on our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Learn more here
There are a range of drivers that lead companies to make responsible business leadership a strategic priority.
If you think that government's commitments and actions that support business (or hold it to account) are an important signal and motivator for improving business sustainability.then you are partially right. If you think that increasing sustainable supply chain preferences from customers are rewarding firms with transparent commitments and programs then you are also right.
... but new evidence from US companies shows that employees expect that their leadership to take a much more vocal and active role in social and environmental issues.
Read about the survey HERE or read an associated article from Weinreb Group HERE
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