As a leading law firm, Clayton Utz believes it has a professional obligation to environmental sustainability as part of its larger commitment to corporate social responsibility.
In comparison to other organisations our environmental footprint is quite small as we are a provider of professional services. Even so, our aim is to minimise our use of resources, maximise reuse and recycle where possible.
Clayton Utz is proud to be a founding member of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA), an industry led association working collaboratively to promote sustainable practices across the legal sector.
Understanding our impacts
As an AusLSA member, Clayton Utz is committed to the AusLSA principles which includes measuring, monitoring and publically reporting yearly on our environmental sustainability performance.
Reporting on our consumption enables the firm to understand the key areas making up our carbon footprint and allows us to in more detail to identify trends locally in each office and as a national firm. By following the AusLSA principles it shows our commitment to continually improve our sustainability performance, especially considering that our yearly results are reported publically.
We have now implemented the certified AusLSA Environmental Management System (AEMS). This allows us to understand and manage our environmental risks, and make remedial plans to minimise our impacts.
The firm is committed to incorporating sustainability as part of its strategic decision-making framework.
In June 2011 we relocated our Sydney office to 1 Bligh Street ‒the first high-rise building in Sydney to achieve a 5 Star Energy Rating and a 6 Star Green Star Office Design v2 Certified Rating. The relocation to Sydney's greenest high-rise reflects the firm leadership in environmental sustainability and will continue to support our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint well into the future. In December 2012 we relocated our Canberra office to the NewActon Nishi building which is one of Canberra's most environmentally sustainable large-scale office buildings, designed to meet five-star NABERS and six green star ratings.
We have incorporated into our procurement policy consideration of the sustainability of the products and services which we buy, and the manner in which they are supplied. We seek to encourage our suppliers to adopt a more sustainable approach to the provision of goods and services.
For example, our printing and copying paper is Australian made and is PEFC certified and our letterhead is Australian made and FSC certified. Our procurement contracts include using recycled content products such as note pads and file note pads as well as encouraging the reuse of stationery products in our stationery cabinets.
Our largest single source of carbon emissions is electricity which we are committed to reducing nationally. Our new offices in Sydney and Canberra have moved to energy efficient fit-outs which has resulted in electricity reductions of over 30% in Sydney and 40% in Canberra. Other Clayton Utz offices have reduced their electricity use by installing more energy efficient globes and de-lamping office floors where possible and nationally we have employed smarter technology to reduce carbon emissions per unit. We hope to make similar reductions in our Melbourne office in 2016 and have set a target of reducing our carbon emissions by a further 10% for FY16/17.
Recycling and reuse
Through our building managers in each office we participate in comprehensive recycling programs including paper, cardboard, bottles/glass, aluminium/cans and where possible organic waste. Our toner cartridges are recycled through Close the Loop or similar programs.
Our Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne offices have relationships with Oz Harvest who rescue any unused food. This not only supports those in need in the community but it also reduces landfill.
Our superseded IT equipment is donated to our Community Connect partners or purchased by our employees if it is viable. Alternatively, it is sent for environmentally friendly disposal or if possible, recycled.
We recycle unused or second hand stationery supplies through the establishment of "Green Cupboards" in our offices, and encourage our employees to use these in preference to new stationery supplies.
In 2006, Clayton Utz established a "Footprints Committee" to drive and lead change in sustainability.
Our Footprints Committee conducts both firm-wide and local awareness campaigns which encourage staff not only to participate at work but to be environmentally aware outside the workplace and implement what they can at home. An intranet site for Footprints operates nationally and includes information on sustainable practices at work and home. The site also provides ready access to data on the firm's ongoing emissions performance.
We are a founding and continuous supporter of Earth Hour and work with our building managers in all offices to ensure compliance by all tenants and building management.