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Greener Disputes?

February 7, 2022
Insight
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In the last few years, there has been increasing drive for climate professionals and greener business.  Indeed, such matters are more noticeable even in our office where business strategy and development discussions include consideration of the firm’s desire to support climate change initiatives. As a disputes lawyer, I had not previously considered my practice (and disputes generally) through the prism of a climate professional.  Looking into this issue further, there are in fact a number of initiatives committed to the pursuit of greener arbitrations and greener litigation including the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations founded by Lucy Greenwood and the Greener Litigation Project.  Both initiatives aim to encourage meaningful, but achievable, changes in the way litigation is conducted to minimise the environmental impact of our practices.

Take, for example, the Campaign for Greener Arbitration which sets out guiding principles (The Green Pledge) and provides a series of protocols for adoption by the parties to arbitral proceedings, including a model procedural order.  The Green Pledge focusses on the change of working behaviours across certain key areas, namely:

• the reduction of energy consumption and waste in the workplace;

• encouraging the shift from hard copy correspondence, documents and bundles to electronic communications and papers;

• avoiding unnecessary travel and promoting the use of appropriate technology such as videoconferencing facilities;

• where travel is necessary, taking steps to offset carbon emissions; and

• working with suppliers and service providers who are committed to minimising the environmental impact of their business.

The last two years have required all disputes lawyers to change and adapt our working behaviours very quickly, which happen to be in line with the principles envisaged by The Green Pledge.  We now have an opportunity to continue this positive change and consciously adopt the principles set out in the Greener Arbitrations and Greener Litigation initiatives.  The trick is to avoid falling back into the old way of doing things.  

I have signed up to The Green Pledge and hope that many others will join this journey too.

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