Vodafone has become the first client to sign up to Greener Litigation, joining law firms, chambers and others in committing to reduce the environmental impact of dispute resolution.
The mobile phone company has become the movement’s founding associate member, a little over a year on from the launch of the Greener Litigation Pledge.
The aim of the pledge is to take active steps to reduce the environmental impact and emissions of litigation in line with the objective of restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.
There were 10 founder signatories to the pledge, which is open to any business engaged in the conduct of litigation. There are now 72, including 43 law firms, six chambers and a host of litigation support businesses.
The associate member pledge was developed for organisations that participate in litigation but are not litigation businesses after Vodafone UK approached Mishcon de Reya, as the chair and founder of Greener Litigation, to work together to involve in-house legal teams.
The pledge states: “Our organisation is committed to taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of our business. We support the objectives of the Greener Litigation Pledge.
“We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of litigation in which we are involved in line with the Greener Litigation Pledge, including requesting any litigation professionals we engage to do the same.”
The main pledge commits lawyers to take steps to reduce the environmental footprint of their practices, as well as supporting changes to rules, procedures and practices.
Among the “practical steps” it promotes are “walking, cycling or using public transport for journeys to court wherever feasible and appropriate”, corresponding electronically rather than by hard copy, promoting use of electronic bundles and considering whether witnesses should give evidence by video link.
Litigators should actively consider whether a hearing should be heard remotely, “in whole or in part”.
Andrew Yorston, Vodafone’s UK legal director, said: “We are taking action to cut carbon emissions and electronic waste and to help our customers do the same. We will reach net zero UK operations by 2027 and our business and network is powered by 100% renewable electricity.
“By becoming the founding associate member of Greener Litigation, we hope we send a strong signal to the market of the active role leading corporates expect their legal advisors to take in driving the transition towards a decarbonised economy.”
Vodafone UK will also join the Greener Litigation steering committee.