By Legal Futures Associate CTS
As the environmental crisis and its effects become increasingly evident, the expectations on corporate responsibility grow and the legal sector is acknowledging its obligation to act on sustainability.
Law firms and barristers’ chambers are becoming more aware of the need for them to do their part to protect our planet, by reducing their day-to-day waste production and energy consumption and reviewing their sustainability practices in order to reduce their carbon footprint, attracting a new generation of lawyers by embedding transformative, sustainable business objectives.
Increase cost savings
Creating a sustainability plan can help you to identify where resources are being consumed and where savings can be made, such as embracing flexible working and reducing office space, introducing energy-efficient tools and processes, and moving to a paperless model to cut down on stationery and storage.
According to research carried out by Gartner, as much as 3% of a company’s revenue is spent on paper, printing, filing, storing and maintaining files of information. The average office worker uses approximately 10,000 sheets of paper each year (68% of which are waste), which is the equivalent of 4.5 trees per year.
Read LexisNexis’ guide to going paperless here.
Improve data security
As mentioned previously, going paperless can bring several benefits to your legal practice. If your workflow processes still rely on paper versions of files, forms and essential documents, you may be exposing yourselves and your clients to potential security risks.
Working paper-free not only reduces waste and cuts costs but will improve your law firm’s security and safety by eliminating the chance of misplacing files or paperwork. As well as increasing document availability and ensuring secure, robust storage for sensitive information and data, allowing you to meet your security requirements.
Attract and retain talent
A survey carried out by Deloitte, during the global pandemic, found that climate change and protecting the environment is the #1 concern of Generation Z, and #3 for millennials. Additionally, 60% of respondents believe that businesses do not focus enough of their attention on their environmental responsibilities, with 76% of millennials taking into account a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and 64% unlikely to take a job if the potential employer doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.
By 2025, millennials will make up approximately 75% of the overall workforce, and so it is vital that you consider the ways in which you can attract and retain the best millennial talent to ensure the longevity of your firm or chambers.
Gain a competitive advantage
Acting upon sustainability and having an environmental policy in place gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors, as this will provide insight into your company culture, values and how you do business.
Clients are becoming more demanding about understanding companies’ stances and practices regarding the action they’ve taken to become more sustainable – including this information on your website and in bids and proposals can act as a deciding factor of winning new clients.
The legal sector is renowned for solving the challenges and problems of today’s society, and currently, there is no challenge more significant than that of urgently embracing a more sustainable way of life and business.