IMAGINE a paperless legal office? The Forest Friendly Eco-Kit, while not facilitating this outcome just yet, sets out a number of steps that law firms can take to reduce their impact on the environment, particularly on native forest resources.
The 40-page kit, launched by Victorian environmental group Lawyers for Forests (LFF), outlines a number of initiatives from the simple use of double-sided printing to stipulating the careful selection of office fit-outs.
Anna Stewart, LFF secretary, says that a firm using 2000 reams of paper each month could save between $40,000 and $60,000 a year with implementation of the kit’s printing and photocopying policies such as always printing double-sided and only printing essential documents.
Copies of the kit are being sent out to 70 managing partners of the largest law firms in Victoria this week. Stewart says the group is relying on members to promote the kit within their firms. “We’ve asked LFF members from various firms if they would be willing to champion the kit,” she says. “Things like follow it up with the managing partner and perhaps if the firm is large enough, and it’s appropriate, they could create an environmental committee and look at ways of implementing the kit.”
Stewart is hopeful that environment committees will take off in law firms. “I think it’s like pro bono committees,” she said. “They weren’t heard of five years ago, but now most of the large firms have one and I think that it would be great to see the same thing happen with the environment.”
The Forest Friendly Eco-Kit has received support from the Victoria Law Foundation, the Wilderness Society and the Law Institute of Victoria. LFF expects that the LIV Young Lawyers section in particular will play an important role in getting firms to take on the eco-kit initiatives.
“Changes are often driven from the bottom up and I think young lawyers who are concerned about the environment in general might perhaps see the kit as a small way that they can get their firm to perhaps be more environmentally friendly,” Stewart said.