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Nottingham Uni Law Society targets carbon negative first

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Green goal follows City firms’ pledge to ditch law fair merch

The University of Nottingham Law Society is aiming to become what is believed to be the UK’s first carbon negative law soc.

The society’s green initiative will see it reduce or offset all of its carbon output by rolling out sustainable policies and dramatically reducing any waste production throughout the academic year.

According to the plans, law firm brochures, paper tickets to society events and single-use plasticware at on-campus events will be replaced with electronic booklets, online receipts, e-tickets with QR codes, and recyclable cups and plates.

Meanwhile, to reduce waste, leftover food at law socials and balls will be offered for takeaway, new society sports kit will be made from 75% recyclable material, and any unsold textbooks and stationery from the law school’s office will be donated to charities, libraries or public schools.

Law society activities that unavoidably create carbon emissions, such as trips abroad and travel between events, will be offset through ClimateCare, an environmental company which allows you to calculate your footprint and pay to reduce the same amount elsewhere. The initiative is sponsored by law firm duo Clyde & Co and Latham & Watkins.

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The idea was dreamt up by Joshua Rutt, vice president of Nottingham Law Society, after frequently flying during his year abroad. “When buying plane tickets, it was always an option to offset my proportion of the flight’s carbon emissions,” he told Legal Cheek.

After Nottingham’s 2020/21 law committee was elected, they then spent three months putting the plan together. “What started as ‘just’ carbon offsetting soon became a complete overhaul of how we operated to make us as sustainable as possible,” Rutt explained.

According to Rutt, society members have been “overwhelmingly supportive” towards the new initiative. He added:

“Given the current restrictions, it remains to be seen how people will react to the lack of plastic at our in-person career events, but we think they’ll enjoy drinking wine from glasses far more than the plastic cups we previously provided!”

The carbon negative aim follows a pledge by top City law firms to find more environmentally friendly ways of attracting young lawyers through their doors. Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Pinsent Masons, RPC, TLT and Weil Gotshal all signed up to the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance, which helps firms reduce the use of physical branding materials and merchandise, as well as limiting travel to recruitment events.

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