As a leading law firm, Clayton Utz believes it has a professional obligation to environmental sustainability as part of its larger commitment to social responsibility.
Compared 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 re-use and recycle where possible.
Clayton Utz is proud to be a founding member of the sustainability initiative known as the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA), the only the national top tier firm to do so.
AusLSA aims to develop best practice sustainability guidelines for the legal sector to help firms achieve measurable targets in reducing their environmental impact. It is based on the UK Legal Sector Alliance, which has 30% of all lawyers in private practice in England and Wales as members.
Commenting on the initiative, co-head of the Climate Change and Sustainability group partner Brendan Bateman, who is co-ordinating the firm's involvement, said: "A combined sector-wide effort is the best approach to help bring about genuine change and to promote sustainability in our legal sector."
Understanding our impacts
In 2007 we engaged an experienced consultancy who undertook a comprehensive audit of the firm's greenhouse gas emissions to establish a baseline from which to measure our future performance. We continue to assess our emissions on a monthly and annual basis, and to report our performance against the established baseline.
Strategic decision making
The firm is committed to incorporating sustainability as part of its strategic decision-making framework. Clayton Utz has recently moved in as anchor tenant to the new 1 Bligh St. Sydney office tower project. This building is one of Sydney's first buildings to achieve a 6 star green rating, which represents global leadership in sustainable building design. An important consideration in the decision to commit to this project was the significant reduction to our carbon footprint that would be achieved by relocating approximately 60 percent of our national premises footprint to this new building.
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, all of our printing and copying paper is Australian-made and is produced from 80 percent recycled content and 20 percent sustainable forest plantations. Our letterhead is Australian-made and FSC certified.
Our largest single source of carbon emissions is electricity and we are committed to reducing this by:
Recycling and re-use
Through our building managers in each office we participate in comprehensive recycling programs, including of paper, cardboard, bottles/glass, aluminium/cans and organic waste. Our toner cartridges are recycled through Close the Loop or similar programs.
Our superseded IT equipment is donated to our Community Connect partners or purchased by 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 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. The Footprints Committee is made up of volunteers from all areas of the firm in each office and assists the firm in having a co-ordinated approach to environmental sustainability. Teleconferences are held with representatives from each local Footprints Committee to share ideas and plan roll-outs of initiatives.
Employees volunteer for particular initiatives that are of interest to them, based on four groups - Education, Energy, Transport and Waste.
Our Footprints Committee conducts both firm-wide and local awareness campaigns which encourage employees 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.