Hall & Wilcox joins the UN Global Compact and commits to a net zero future

24 May 2022 By Simon Levett

Practitioners are assisting clients to meet their international obligations with regard to the environment. This is in response to the perception of heightened risk in regard to the impact of climate change.

Law firm Hall & Wilcox is joining the United Nations Global Compact. It has been listed as a participant by the United Nations since 1 March 2022.

This will have an immediate impact on key areas of practice for Hall and Wilcox, the firm said, which currently acts for a range of clients in the energy and resources sector, including utilities, mining and exploration companies and petroleum and LNG companies.

Hall & Wilcox managing partner Tony Macvean said: “We have joined the UN Global Compact and made a commitment to carbon neutral and a net zero future because it is the right thing to do by our planet. It is important to me. It’s important to our people. And it’s important to our clients.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Typically, international agreements involve the activities of governments. However, the United Nations Global Compact was founded in 2000 in order to encourage corporations to conduct business more responsibly. The United Nations Global Compact contains a set of principles so that corporations can act more sustainably in a range of areas such as slavery, human trafficking and forced migration.

The United Nations Global Compact has been criticised by non-government organisations because they are voluntary. However, the United Nations Global Compact has experienced a revival of interest because of concern about the damaging role of the corporation in the context of climate change and the environment. Now legal services are addressing their own carbon footprint so that they can help educate their client base about environmental risk.

The United Nations Global Compact principles on the environment include that corporations should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges (Principle 7), undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility (Principle 8), and encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies. A crucial part of the United Nations Global Compact is its annual reporting requirement.

Hall & Wilcox has committed to achieving carbon-neutral certification through the current federal government’s Climate Active program by no later than 2025. The commitment means the firm will offset 100 per cent of its scope 1,2, and 3 emissions that it is unable to reduce through mitigation activities. The firm has also committed to develop a net zero strategy, with the reduction of emissions against the net zero target certified against the Science-Based Targets Initiative Corporate Net Zero standard.

Individual firms have already indicated to Lawyers Weekly that they are committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Herbert Smith Freehills had pledged that they will reduce emissions to net zero within 10 years.

Lawyers Weekly Discover

Hebert Smith Freehills chief executive Justin D’Agostino had said: “I’m proud that we’ll be among the leaders in the legal sector meeting this challenge. We’ve made excellent progress in sustainability over the last five years, but we need to go further – and we need to do it now.

“Our commitment to net-zero carbon by 2030 dramatically ramps up our own environmental efforts, while we continue to support our client’s efforts to reduce their end-to-end carbon footprint too.”

Already, Lawyers Weekly can reveal that 70 per cent of senior decision-makers have committed their organisations to reaching a net zero target as well as aiming to reduce emissions. The result was found in a survey by law firm Ashurst of 992 senior managers, named The Energy Transition Investment: Latest Trends across the G2O report.

Hall & Wilcox joins the UN Global Compact and commits to a net zero future
Intro image
lawyersweekly logo