Strategic measures around electricity consumption and air travel have helped Clayton Utz to further reduce its carbon footprint in the last financial year.
These measures were reported to the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA), which published the environmental profile and impact of participating firms in its 2014 annual report released last week.
The report shows that in FY2014 Clayton Utz reduced total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from the previous reporting period by 1675 tonnes. This was attributed primarily to reductions in emissions of 572 tonnes for electricity and 1105 tonnes for air travel.
Clayton Utz partner and AusLSA chair Stuart Clark said that even with fluctuating business needs, the firm had managed to achieve year-on-year general reductions in emissions since it started reporting to AusLSA in 2010.
"Since 2010, we have successfully reduced our overall carbon emissions by approximately 35%. Paper consumption has similarly had an overall decrease in this period by approximately 30%, even after taking into consideration the occasional business need for increased consumption," he said.
A number of key strategic measures around electricity consumption and air travel have helped the firm to achieve this. The most critical have been the moves of the Sydney office to 1 Bligh Street and the Canberra office into the Nishi building. Both boast ground-breaking design, state of the art sustainability features and 6 green star ratings.
Smaller changes to the business are also paying big dividends, such as reducing international air travel and rolling out Follow-Me printing services to reduce unnecessary paper consumption.
Mr Clark added that increasing numbers of law firms are now reporting on their carbon footprint and environmental sustainability initiatives. "Since Clayton Utz signed on to the AusLSA initiative - the first large law firm to do so - a significant number of firms have started reporting on their carbon footprint, with 32 of the 40 AusLSA members contributing this year. It's gratifying to see the profession working together and sharing the knowledge to improve our overall carbon footprint."
AusLSA is an industry-led association working collaboratively to promote sustainable practices across the legal sector. In coming years, AusLSA is expecting to expand its reporting on sustainability practices beyond environmental elements to include social and governance issues. Clayton Utz is a founding Executive Member of AusLSA.