The business of “going green” has numerous benefits for law firms beyond reducing its environmental footprint. Growing awareness amongst the Australian legal sector to create a sustainable future has law firms across the country improving their energy practices and focusing on clean and renewable resources.
But jumping on the sustainability bandwagon is not just an attempt to save on printing costs. Law firms recognise that clients are conscious of the environmental impact of their operations. By successfully addressing the sustainability issue firms are achieving a number of goals: benefiting the environment; improving employee morale and achieving cost savings by eliminating the wasteful use of energy, paper and other resources.
Improving a firm’s sustainability performance, both environmentally and socially, can also have a positive impact on the reputation of the firm and recognition in the community. The push towards a greener working environment has come largely from staff. Younger employees and graduates expect the firm they are a part of to embrace sustainable practices based on their environmental awareness and the number of other industries implementing green strategies.
So just how are firms going green? Whilst it can be a monumental task, the first step is developing a “green business plan” outlining all the initiatives they wish to implement. These can include recycling programs to paperless offices. Lawyers are notorious for excessive paper use. One solution is to print double-sided; a practice Affinity Lawyers employs that costs nothing and will cut paper usage by fifty per cent. Among the paper saving initiatives, many firms engage in video-conferencing, car sharing, energy efficient lighting and water saving devices.
The options for going green are endless and can be tailored to the specific needs of a law firm. The cost of many of these initiatives is minimal and the benefits, in the form of enhanced employee morale, client relations, environmental performance and cost savings, can be significant. A large number of Australian firms are well under way in their sustainability efforts, for others, it is never too late to start.