Bar Council launches sustainability network as law firms target net-zero emissions

Carbon footprint: Lawyers look to move to net-zero emissions

The Bar Council has launched an initiative to help chambers “transition to a more sustainable way of working”, saving not just carbon emissions but costs too.

In return for an annual fee of £500 plus VAT, chambers get access to a range of benefits, including a ‘carbon calculator’ to measure emissions and set reduction targets.

The benefits of belonging to the Bar Sustainability Network include advice and information, online support and resources, member events and updates throughout the year.

The network is delivered in partnership with sustainability consultancy Achill Management. Chambers where a majority of work is publicly funded pay a reduced subscription of £150 plus VAT.

A further benefit is membership of the Bar Renewables Pledge. This involves a commitment by chambers to switching to 100% renewable electricity for all their UK premises by 2025.

In return chambers are entitled to use the Bar Renewables Pledge badge and banner on their website and communications.

Derek Sweeting QC, chair of the Bar Council, said: “It might seem that barristers can’t make much of a difference to saving our planet, but climate change affects us all. The Bar wants to do its part and take action on the global climate emergency.

“The Bar Council’s Bar Sustainability Network is designed to provide the tools and resources for the Bar to achieve that ambition.

“We also envisage that by becoming members of the network, chambers and others may be able to save costs through exploring cheaper ‘green’ options – which, given the financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic, will be a game-changer for many.”

Meanwhile, national law firm TLT is partnering with sustainability advisers Carbon Intelligence to help make it a net zero emissions organisation by 2025.

Carbon Intelligence will undertake a full strategy and business review, providing TLT with an analysis of risks and opportunities in terms of its sustainability strategy and approach.

City firm Herbert Smith Freehills announced its intention last year to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

The firm said it would reduce its carbon emissions in a number of ways, such as using clean energy, working with suppliers committed to reducing emissions and supporting initiatives that remove the carbon dioxide that the firm produces from the atmosphere.

Clifford Chance, meanwhile, has set up a global taskforce, chaired by senior partner Jeroen Ouwehand, to help it become more sustainable.

Mr Ouwehand said: “The tidal wave of investor, customer, and stakeholder pressure for a more sustainable future creates huge opportunities and risks for businesses.”

Also in the City, Linklaters was awarded a score of A for its global environment programme and carbon management efforts by the CPD Climate Change Survey, the “highest score a global law firm has achieved to date”.

The firm said this meant it retained the firm’s top position in the professional services sector, where the average score is D.

CPD, formally known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, helps companies disclose their environmental impacts and improve their approach to carbon reduction.

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