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Global law firms unite to support net zero transition

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Net Zero Lawyers Alliance’s 22 founding members include Clifford Chance, Slaughters and HSF

Some of the world’s leading law firms have formed an alliance committed to accelerating the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Net Zero Lawyers Alliance was formally launched on Wednesday as part of London Climate Action Week. Its founding members are 22 global law firms, including Baker McKenzie, Burges Salmon, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, DLA Piper, Eversheds Sutherland, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Mishcon de Reya, Pinsent Masons, Reed Smith, Shearman & Sterling, Slaughter and May, Taylor Wessing, among many others.

Members of the alliance are committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, while also setting interim targets to reduce their operational emissions by at least 50% by 2030 against 2019 levels.

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Crucially, the group has also pledged to build understanding of net zero legislation and policies across the legal profession through dedicated training programmes and to work closely with clients to encourage and support their own climate goals.

“By committing and capacity building, and by working on collaborative initiatives to convert legal instruments to help drive systemic change, member law firms seek to help align client net zero ambitions within their contracts, terms, and enforcement,” the group said in a statement. “Member firms recognise that commercial law can act as connective tissue in transitioning energy, infrastructure and transport, industry and land use systems to align with, and accelerate the delivery of climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience.”

The Chancery Lane Project, a coalition of solicitors, barristers and judges, was formed last year to develop new contracts and model laws in the fight against climate change.

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3 Comments

QCs Without 1sts LLP

On the quiet, a Gold BA Executive Club card is viewed as a great badge of honour at the Bar.

I bet they will love this initiative.

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Meaningless puff

All while the firms all crow about the projects their oil, gas and mining teams have worked on. Hypocrites. A real net zero initiative would mean operating a gatekeeper audit on client environmental impact. It is the same as pushing no smoking in the office while profiting from having Big Tobacco clients.

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Anon

These net-zero initiatives are 100% lip service. My firm joined it and it means absolutely nothing with no impact on day to day operations. We all still print enough per week to deforest Wales.

To get “net-zero”, I think the scheme is only a carbon offset by donating to some tree planter team in Africa (I’m sure we’re all positive that the money will wind up being used to plant trees… ). In any event the amount is so small and also tax deductible that it has no impact on firm profitability or partner drawings. But it’s great, cause now we can put that we are a net-zero firm in our email signature. I’m sure the client noticed it when I sent them the contract for a new build offshore oil rig the other week. Seriously.

I dare LC to ring up a few of these firms and ask them what they are ACTUALLY doing that changes how they operate day to day to help reduce emissions. I guarantee you the conversation will be hilariously awkward.

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