Corporate Social Responsibility for Legal Firms

Corporate Social Responsibility for Legal Firms

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the voluntary integration, by companies, of social and environmental concerns in their commercial operations and in their relationships with interested parties. So, in short, a consideration of your business impacts on society and the environment, and that of those with whom you work with. This therefore reflects up and down the supply chain through both products and services. The environmental aspect of this is concerned with Sustainability.

Sustainability is a range of old concepts put together in a newer term. It is living within our (environmental, social, economic) means and considering those generations that come after us. It is forward thinking and playing the long game. The concept has been embraced by some industries more than others, and this is reflected in the appraisal process of invitations to tender.  It has also been embraced by some individuals more than others, and this is reflected in the appraisal process of some candidates researching the ethos of prospective employers.

Long Game, Big Picture

The Professional Services sector, including Legal services, Estates Management and Wills firms, has some bright lights in this field, those that measure and manage their environmental and social impacts, and their light is brighter as the bulk of practices remain in the dark on this topic. These firms are playing the long game (which is what sustainability is all about!), and will have a better choice of candidates and commercial opportunities as a result (all other things being equal).

The commitments the firm has made to improving practice and reducing its carbon footprint are motivated by both our environmental conscience and the knowledge that sustainability is among the things the firm wishes to be known for.” Helen Garthwaite, Taylor Wessing.

There are supporting organisations and benchmarks available for the sector, tools for measuring and management systems for implementing continual improvement (insofar as that can itself be sustained) of environmental and other aspects. None of these are core activities for most practices, not least due to pressures on the profession in commercial, labour and intellectual terms. 

Measuring, Managing and Shouting about it

It is in this context that Frith Resource Management (FRM), a company of Chartered professionals that have been working in environmental modelling for many years (for clients as diverse as Deloitte, Morrisons and Defra) have developed a service called Credibly Green to provide independent measurement, and supporting information for firms seeking to record and manage their environmental impacts.

This is designed to be a low cost, quality assured service, working off data that is readily available for offices and staff activity (utility bills, waste transfer notes etc.) and therefore minimise labour input from staff.  This data will allow Credibly Green to model the environmental impacts of the service and illustrate it on a common footing (usually expressed as kg of CO2) in a simple environmental report that may be used for internal performance management, demonstration of CSR and also for external facing PR, marketing or commercial bids. Appropriate draft press releases and explanatory text about the service and performance are also provided through the Credibly Green service for client’s tender submissions. A Credibly Green stamp will be awarded to those organisations that measure and understand their environmental impact (see below), and bronze, silver and gold stamps are available where improvements are made against a baseline or benchmark. Offices can also be measured separately to show good practice across different sites within a law firm.

We work for a range of sectors, not just professional services, but also manufacturing, the automotive sector, events management, education and aviation sectors. Each of which has its own environmental impacts (some large, some small) but until you measure these impacts how do you know which ones are the key environmental aspects of your operation? 

For more details you can contact us via the following: email [email protected] ; tel. 01746 552423.

This article was submitted to be published by Frith Resource Management as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills & Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.

Paul Frith, Director of Frith Resource Management