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Legal Sustainability CONNECT 
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AusLSA Bulletin
April - June 2018


Welcome to the Australian Legal Sector's Bulletin
The Australian Legal Sector Bulletin keeps you up to date with a collection of the most interesting articles, tools and events from AusLSA, fellow members, legal industry leaders and sustainability leaders.

Spread the word - Please recommend this Bulletin  to your friends and colleagues with an interest in the sustainability of your firm.

Paperless Trials in the NSW Land and Environment Court

Issue 92 (2018) of the Australian Law Journal has an article from Justice Tim Moore of the Land and Environment Court of NSW about the recent collaborative "Paperless Trial" project between AusLSA, The Court and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 

The project has saved in excess of 200,000 pages of copying, together with associated environmental impacts and costs and has been embraced by counsel and solicitors.

While there was still some getting used to the screen instead of paper, the trial was a success and the Land and Environment Court considers paperless trials to be a significant option for the future. 

Due to copyright reasons, we can't link you to Justice Moore's story, but click HERE to see our video of the process, or grab your library copy of the ALJ.

Latest Newsletter from Legal Sector Alliance
Our Sister organisation in the UK, the Legal Sustainability Alliance, released their latest newsletter on June 5, World Environment day, and given that, 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 HERE to read the newsletter.

Tenth anniversary review of the National Pro Bono Target

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.

In case you missed this podcast....

Thomson Reuters, Lawyers Weekly and The Hon. Michael Kirby, AC CMG reflect on LGBTI Inclusion, diversity and advocacy in this thirty minute informative podcast.

CLICK HERE for an AusLSA downloaded copy of the podcast
CLICK HERE to go to the Lawyers Weekly site

AusLSA members support Aboriginal self-determination

It's great to see that 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.

New Zealand Law Society launches Gender Equality Charter

While we recently reported the success of gender balance for lawyers in Victoria, New Zealand have taken this a little further by publishing a Gender Equality Charter.

This Charter looks beyond the balance of numbers and asks why women are so far behind men in holding positions of seniority.

Signatories are asked to undertake a number of commitments over a two year period and to report their progress to the New Zealand Law Society. In Australia, we acknowledge that we still have 'way to go' to achieve proper gender equality - perhaps this is a good example?.

Demystifying Flexible Working

To assist organisations understand  the benefits of Flexible Working, the Diversity Council of Australia (DCA)  has recently released a toolkit to try and 'debunk the myths of flexible working'. 

As many of our AusLSA members know, flexible working policies are sometimes surrounded in stigma and myths that if you are not in the office, then you are not really working. 

We think that our member firms have passed this barrier, but the attached snapshot of DCA's work may help with any roadblocks that may still be out there.

Click on THIS LINK to see the article.

Modern Slavery still a huge issue

Despite the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh five years ago, it is estimated that there are still more than 24 million  people engaged in 'modern slavery', working to produce consumer goods. 

The attached article from ABC news paints a very dark picture of the current situation, but serves as a reminder to us about how vigilant we must be in understanding the activities of our supply chains. Enough said.

Australia to implement Modern Slavery Legislation in 2018

Targeted regulatory action is being developed by the Australian Government through establishment of a Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement. 

This is likely to require entities operating in Australia with a total annual revenue threshold of between $50-$100M to report annually on their efforts to address modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. 

Reporting requirements could start as early as November 2018 and depending on the final revenue threshold that is determined, may affect AusLSA Members. 

Click on the AFEI icon for more information, or CLICK HERE for another article from ProBono Australia about this. 

Links to other working documents can be found HERE.

UN Goal 8.7 to address Modern Slavery

As part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), goal 8.7 was inserted to specifically address forced labour, moderns slavery, trafficking and child labour, and global partnership Alliance87 was formed.

Given AusLSAs alignment to the SDGs we ask all our members to ensure vigilance in their supply chain. Click HERE to find out more about Alliance87.

NSW Parliament passes Modern Slavery Bill 2018

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. 

A copy of the Bill can be found HERE.

A Mars a day is still OK!

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

Moving buildings??... Consider this...

If you are your firm's premises manager, sustainability manager or on your building committee, you probably know that you are under a three pronged attack - that the built environment is the biggest contributor to GHG emissions; that the cost of outgoings and utilities like water and electricity are on the rise, and that your stakeholders expect you to be environmentally responsible. 

See the linked article from Brisbane based Cromwell Property group (courtesy of 'The Sustainability Report') about that very issue, with some tips you can use to ask how green is my building - as well as a reminder that sustainability and profits are not mutually exclusive!!.

If you can't reuse it, refuse it! - World Environment Day

We have unashamedly reused the catch phrase from this year's World Environment Day 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 - click here to see their report).

A problem towards the scale of our greenhouse gas emission problem, but remaining under the surface, Click HERE to find out more.

How to get blood out of a lawyer?

Lawyer jokes aside, we know that our member firms are all really good at getting groups together and donating blood. We also all know how competitive lawyer groups can be. So here is a chance to combine both opportunities!.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service have recently launched 'Red 25', which is a life-saving social responsibility program where workplaces, community groups and universities around Australia unite to save lives through blood donation. 

Red 25 members work together to ensure that 25% of Australia's blood donations are secured. 

See how it works by going to the RED 25 website HERE.

Can renewables overtake fossil fuels?

While fossil fuels still dominate the generation of world energy, other renewable sources are quickly overtaking in 'new' capacity generation. In a recent report from Reuters, climate scientists are predicting that generation of energy from renewable resources should dominate world energy demand by mid century. 

Last year 'new' energy generation in China was 157 gigawatts, more than double that from fossil fuel. The head of UN Environment feels that we are at a 'turning point' to take on oil, coal and gas.

See the article from Thomson-Reuters HERE.

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