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Law firm sustainability needs less paperwork: report

Law firm sustainability needs less paperwork: report

Australian lawyers each used on average 115kg of paper in the last year, a new report has found. The figure is a 7 per cent decrease on the previous year.

AUSTRALIAN lawyers each used on average 115kg of paper in the last year, a new report has found. The figure is a 7 per cent decrease on the previous year. 

The statistic is part of an Australian Legal Sector Alliance released this week by Henry Davis York.

Australian law firms are churning through marginally less energy than they were a year ago, according to the report. 

Overall, firms used 3.9 per cent less energy than they did for the same period the year before. They are recycling more and firm strategies generally point to a dedication to reduce paper usage. The report found a high use of recycling tools among AusLSA members. 

More than 33 per cent of all emissions derived from business travel.

Law firms including Clayton Utz, DLA Phillips Fox, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Norton Rose Australia and Swaab Attorneys were among the 15 Australian firms to participate in the AusLSA report. 

The decrease in environmental consumption by Australian law firms in the 2011 Financial Year is encouraging, according to Henry Davis York chief operating officer, Kelvin O'Connor.

O'Connor, who is also co-chair of the AusLSA, presented the results of the second  Environmental Consumption of AusLSA members 2010/11 report.

"This year's report has highlighted a number of successes namely the reduction of energy consumption and paper usage, and has provided a roadmap for future sustainability improvements with the AusLSA membership," O'Connor said.

Fifteen AusLSA members (75 per cent of its membership) participated in the report. Of these, eight of the members which were foundation members of AusLSA, contributed for the second time, enabling year-on-year comparisons amongst that group.

O'Connor said that at a first glance the footprints presented by the group of eight foundation members may not present a rosy picture, as the total emissions have slightly increased. He said that this was mainly attributable to business travel as consumption had decreased in electricity and paper.

The report covered five different contributors to legal firms' carbon footprints of energy consumption, business travel, paper, waste, and offsetting.

AusLSA was formed in 2010 to assist Australian law firms to identify opportunities to improve business efficiencies, to develop and enthusiasm to enhance the reputation of the legal sector as a whole and to meet the growing demand from employees  for their employers to take sustainability issues seriously.

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