Why are Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives important for law firms?

By Toby Sewell from Access Legal

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) projects are a key for most businesses in all industries and the legal sector is no different, especially in the last decade. These initiatives allow law firms to understand and reduce their impact on the environment and promote a better way working. ESG is strongly related to sustainability and provides a framework for law firms to account for their environmental, social, and governance policies so that they don’t negatively affect the world.

ESG criteria are now taken into consideration for many law firms services and activities, including how they interact with clients. There’s some obvious ways law firms can make their operations greener and leaner such as utilising technology to reduce the amount of printed documents or moving to cloud hosted software which is much more energy efficient, however ESG means much more than that. ESG also helps motivate conscious decisions regarding energy usage, environmental footprint reductions, human rights considerations, ethical standards adherences, regulatory compliance and more. ESG gives law firms an incentive to consider the full effects of their actions on society as a whole.

Law firms also look at their suppliers and partners more closely to ensure that they also have ESG policies and initiatives in place which aligns to the values and views of their own. This means law firms can be confident that their supply chain, as well as themselves, are operating in the most sustainable and morally correct way. Firms that embrace ESG principles are also better able to build trust with clients by demonstrating ESG awareness and incorporating ESG considerations into the scope of their legal services. Awareness of ESG issues can help law firms identify opportunities for new business and areas where clients may need additional legal assistance or advice.

What could law firms do to support ESG initiatives?

There’s a number of things which law firms can do to support ESG initiatives. Below are just a few:

[1] https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/certification