Newsletter

September, 2021

TODAY'S SESSION
CASE STUDY: HOW HIRING ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYST INTERNS HELPED IMPROVE THE FIRM'S 'WILLKIE GREEN' PROGRAM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2021
9AM PT/11AM CT/12PM ET
Willkie Farr knew if the firm was going to work towards achieving its new sustainability goals, they would need resources. In doing so, the firm created an Environmental Analyst internship program and with its new hires gained these benefits:
  • Perspective and learning from students who are majoring in Environmental Studies, Environmental Justice, or related fields
  • New social media ways to engage stakeholders with tech savvy and on-trend approaches
  • Start new and complete projects with interns who are eager to gain work experience
In this session, learn from Chief Administrative Officer Peter Fradkin and Facilities Manager Melinda Hill why Willkie Farr decided to hire interns in the sustainability space, how the firm hired them and matched them to projects ongoing and new projects. We will also hear from Willkie Farr's interns speak to what projects they assisted with and what the benefit was for them.
NEWS
(Think about your ESG strategy, what kind of framework do you have in place, how are you advising your clients in shifting markets and does LEED space matter?)
Sep 8, 2021 | Reuters
As more law firms go beyond establishing environmental, social and governance practices and embrace internal ESG initiatives, DLA Piper announced Tuesday that it had created a new executive-level ESG leadership role to spearhead ESG efforts across its international offices.
Jean-Pierre Douglas-Henry, who was most recently international group head of the firm's litigation and regulatory and co-chair of sustainability and ESG, was appointed managing director of sustainability and resilience on Sept. 1. As a member of the firm's international executive committee, he will report directly to DLA Piper's global co-CEO Simon Levine.
DLA Piper is the latest Big Law firm to elevate a partner to an executive position solely dedicated to sustainability. Last October, Baker McKenzie named Paris-based partner Alyssa Auberger as its first chief sustainability officer. The year before that, Ashurst appointed Hong Kong-based Anna-Marie Slot as its first global sustainability partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer also elevated New York-based partner Tim Wilkins to the same role.
"The idea of having leadership behind sustainability in law firms is something that's been going on for a little more than 10 years," said Gayatri Joshi, executive director of the Law Firm Sustainability Network. She said Nixon Peabody was believed to be the first major law firm to appoint a chief sustainability officer when it named a lawyer to the role in 2007
In a report due to be released in the coming weeks, the Law Firm Sustainability Network found law firms are increasingly moving towards formalized roles and structures for their sustainability programs, with nearly a third of those in leadership roles also owning equity in their firms...
Sept 8, 2021 | NPR
(How are you advising your financial institution clients? What products are they offering? Internally, think about what your employeees would appreciate as perks, understanding what consumers prefer)
A recent study found that some of the most common terms in climate science are confusing to the general public. 
"I think the main message is to avoid jargon," says Wändi Bruine de Bruin, a behavioral scientist at the University of Southern California and the lead author of the study.
For example, participants in the study mixed up the word "mitigation," which commonly refers to efforts that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the word "mediation," which is a way to resolve disputes. And even simple terms such as "carbon" can be misleading, the study found. Sometimes, carbon is shorthand for carbon dioxide. Other times, it's used to refer to multiple greenhouse gases.
"As experts in a particular field, we may not realize which of the words that we're using are jargon," says Bruine de Bruin.
Better communication is a mandate for the team of scientists currently working on the next National Climate Assessment, which is the most comprehensive, public-facing climate change report for the U.S. The fifth edition of the assessment comes out in late 2023...
Interested in learning more about ESG jargon? Check out Latham & Watkins The Book of Jargon-ESG
Sep 9, 2021 | Bloomberg
More lawsuits seeking to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are likely in Europe, spurred by a recent report that makes the role of human activity "unequivocal" in global climate change.
Activists have seized on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 3,949-page report, released last month, telling energy companies they will "see you in court".
Most of the wins have taken place in Europe, including a ruling that requires Royal Dutch Shell to cut emissions more aggressively and a case that forced the German government to readjust its targets.
In the United States, the lawsuits have struggled to gain traction.
The international scientific consensus in the IPCC report could be used in a variety of geographically varied courts, especially when the claimants are not currently affected by climate impacts.
IPCC publishes its reports every six to seven years. Earlier versions already were being featured in lawsuits, including a French case against the government for failing to have a credible route to climate objectives and a Peruvian farmer's claim against German energy company RWE.
Environmentalists used the data in successful lawsuits against the Netherlands, Colombia and South Africa, and in the Shell case.
It also provides "additional value" for claims of damages and compensation, said lawyer Roger Cox, who represented a Dutch environmental group in the case against Shell.
That may mean more litigation against Big Oil.
According to estimates from the Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, there are about 1,400 climate-related cases in the US and 400 elsewhere in in the world.
Legal tactics in the US have included trying to sue fossil fuel companies for the costs of climate change or for allegedly misleading investors about the risks of global warming.
While the US Supreme Court did rule in 2007 that carbon dioxide can be regulated as a pollutant, few courts have been willing to impose liability for emissions.
Some US courts have said the problems associated with global warming need to be addressed through congressional legislation and international treaties, not lawsuits. And finding individual companies - even big oil companies - responsible for particular damage caused by climate change can be difficult.
Sep 9, 2021 | Cushman & Wakefield
As investor interest in ESG strategy rises, LEED-certified office provides a key indicator on comparative performance By 2023, 80% of investors intend to incorporate ESG into their strategy.
As demand for ESG-committed assets has grown, a key question has arisen: do these assets perform the same or better than their non-ESG peers? If so, is it possible to quantify this difference?  
Key takeaways:  
  • LEED-certified buildings have consistently achieved higher rents compared to their non-LEED counterparts. 
  • Attaining ESG commitment through LEED certification does come at higher cost through construction or renovation.  
  • LEED-certified assets outperform during recession-recovery periods. 
  • The pandemic accelerated tenant demand for ESG assets. 
  • LEED-certified assets held a 21.4% higher average market sales price per square foot over non-LEED buildings during the past three years. 
  • Sustainable assets are still fairly niche, with LEED-certification accounting for just 2.5% of the total urban office inventory in the United States.  
ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVANCES
To plan your communications and engagements
The LFSN, is in part, funded by the generosity of the Leadership Council.
To learn more about the Leadership Council, please email us.
The LFSN is a nonprofit partner of 1% for the Planet and eligible to receive donations from 1% member companies.
Questions? gjoshi@ecoanalyze.com
 
 
UPCOMING SESSION
CASE STUDY: HOW HIRING ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYST INTERNS HELPED IMPROVE THE FIRM'S 'WILLKIE GREEN' PROGRAM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2021
9AM PT/11AM CT/12PM ET
Willkie Farr knew if the firm was going to work towards achieving its new sustainability goals, they would need resources. In doing so, the firm created an Environmental Analyst internship program and with its new hires gained these benefits:
  • Perspective and learning from students who are majoring in Environmental Studies, Environmental Justice, or related fields
  • New social media ways to engage stakeholders with tech savvy and on-trend approaches
  • Start new and complete projects with interns who are eager to gain work experience
In this session, learn from Chief Administrative Officer Peter Fradkin and Facilities Manager Melinda Hill why Willkie Farr decided to hire interns in the sustainability space, how the firm hired them and matched them to projects ongoing and new projects. We will also hear from Willkie Farr's interns speak to what projects they assisted with and what the benefit was for them.
NEWS
Sept 1, 2021 | Forbes
(How are you advising your financial institution clients? What products are they offering? Internally, think about what your employeees would appreciate as perks, understanding what consumers prefer)
62% of banks monitor clients’ emissions and environmental profiles, although many find the availability and granularity of the data insufficient to assess climate risk and the financial risk associated with evaluating lending decisions.
According to Cornerstone’s survey of 3,150 US adults, nearly one in four Americans consider climate change to be the most important social challenge facing the country.
Consumers want more than just a climate tracker from their bank, however. At least a third of all consumers are very interested in checking accounts with:
  • Rewards for purchases made from environmental-friends
  • Debit cards made from renewable or upcycled materials
  • Policies that prevent deposits from funding fossil fuel exploration or production
  • An option to plant a tree with every roundup
Third of consumers concerned with climate change say it’s important for a lender to provide green lending products like home modernization loans, green mortgages, and green car loans.
Established banks like Bank of the West and Amalgamated Bank have developed climate-based strategies...
Sep 1, 2021 | Axios
Treasury, via the Federal Insurance Office, is soliciting information on topics like data needed to measure and assess the sector's climate-related risk exposures and "climate-related issues or gaps in the supervision and regulation of insurers."
More broadly, the office is looking to assess the potential for "major disruptions" of private insurance in markets especially vulnerable to climate change.
The Wall Street Journal points out that the effort will affect FIO's work with states, which are the primary insurance regulators.
Treasury notes that some consumers are finding it increasingly tough to find affordable property insurance in some markets.
FIO's efforts will focus on three initial climate-related priorities, which are described below. Additionally, this RFI seeks input on how FIO's data collection and dissemination authorities can best be used by FIO in support of these priorities, as well as to monitor and assess the insurance sector and climate-related financial risks.
  • Physical risks are “the possibility that the economic costs of the increasing severity and frequency of climate-change related extreme weather events, as well as more gradual changes in climate, might erode the value of financial assets, and/or increase liabilities.” 
  • Transition risks can arise from the technological, market, and policy changes needed to adjust to a low carbon economy and their effects on the value of financial assets and liabilities. Depending on the nature, speed, and focus of these changes, transition risks may pose varying levels of financial and reputational risk to organizations.
  • Liability risks may “arise when parties are held liable for losses related to environmental damage that may have been caused by their actions or omissions.”
Aug 30, 2021 | New York Times
The office will be the first government effort to focus specifically on the public health dangers of global warming.
The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, which the administration announced on Monday, will be the first federal program aimed specifically at understanding how planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels also affect human health. It will fall under the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Climate change is fundamentally a health threat,” said Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate change adviser. She said part of the mission of the office would be to encourage doctors to talk to their patients about protecting themselves from things like heat waves, wildfire smoke and other air pollution.
President Biden has requested $3 million to fund the climate office next year, a sum that still requires congressional approval. 
OCCHE is tasked with:
  • Identifying communities with disproportionate exposures to climate hazards and vulnerable populations.
  • Addressing health disparities exacerbated by climate impacts to enhance community health resilience.
  • Promoting and translating research on public health benefits of multi-sectoral climate actions.  
  • Assisting with regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and criteria air pollution throughout the health care sector, including participating suppliers and providers.
  • Fostering innovation in climate adaptation and resilience for disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations.
  • Providing expertise and coordination to the White House, Secretary of Health and Human Services and federal agencies related to climate change and health equity deliverables and activities, including Executive Order implementation, and reporting on health adaptation actions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Promoting training opportunities to build the climate and health workforce and empower communities. 
  • Exploring opportunities to partner with the philanthropic and private sectors to support innovative programming to address disparities and health sector transformation.
Sep, 1, 2021 | BBC
The number of weather-related disasters to hit the world has increased five-fold over the past 50 years, says the World Meteorological Organization.
Over two million people died as a result of these hazards, with economic losses amounting to $3.64 trillion. More than 90% of the deaths related to weather disasters have occurred in developing countries.
The biggest killers have been droughts, responsible for 650,000 deaths; while at the other end of the scale, extreme temperatures took nearly 56,000 lives.
"More lives are being saved thanks to early warning systems but it is also true that the number of people exposed to disaster risk is increasing due to population growth in hazard-exposed areas and the growing intensity and frequency of weather events," said Mami Mizutori, special representative of the UN's Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.
"More international cooperation is needed to tackle the chronic problem of huge numbers of people being displaced each year by floods, storms and drought.
"We need greater investment in comprehensive disaster risk management, ensuring that climate change adaptation is integrated in national and local disaster risk-reduction strategies," she said.
Sep 1, 2021 New York Times
Parts of Afghanistan have warmed twice as much as the global average. Spring rains have declined, most worryingly in some of the country’s most important farmland. Droughts are more frequent in vast swaths of the country, including a punishing dry spell now in the north and west, the second in three years.
Afghanistan embodies a new breed of international crisis, where the hazards of war collide with the hazards of climate change, creating a nightmarish feedback loop that punishes some of the world’s most vulnerable people and destroys their countries’ ability to cope.
A third of all Afghans face what the United Nations calls crisis levels of food insecurity. Because of the fighting, many people haven’t been able to plant their crops in time. Because of the drought, the harvest this year is certain to be poor. The World Food Program says 40 percent of crops are lost, the price of wheat has gone up by 25 percent, and the aid agency’s own food stock is due to run out by the end of September.
The combination of war and warming compound the risks facing some of the world’s most vulnerable people: According to the United Nations children’s agency, Afghanistan is the 15th riskiest country in the world for children, because of climate hazards, like heat and drought, and a lack of essential services, like health care. Two million Afghan children are malnourished.
Aug 30, 2021 | NPR
Climate change helped Ida rapidly gain strength right before it made landfall. In about 24 hours, it jumped from a Category 1 to a Category 4 storm as it moved over abnormally hot water in the Gulf of Mexico.
The ocean was the temperature of bathwater — about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a few degrees hotter than average, according to measurements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The extra heat acted as fuel for the storm. Heat is energy, and hurricanes with more energy have faster wind speeds and larger storm surges. As the Earth heats up, rapidly intensifying major hurricanes such as Ida are more likely to occur, scientists say.
The trend is particularly apparent in the Atlantic Ocean, which includes storms such as Ida that travel over the warm, shallow water of the Caribbean Sea. A 2019 study found that hurricanes that form in the Atlantic are more likely to get powerful very quickly.
Residents along the U.S. Gulf Coast have been living with that climate reality for years. Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Hurricane Michael in 2018 and Hurricane Laura in 2020 all intensified rapidly before they made landfall. Now Ida joins that list.
Hurricanes such as Ida are extra dangerous because there's less time for people to prepare. By the time the storm's power is apparent, it can be too late to evacuate.
ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVANCES
To plan your communications and engagements
The LFSN, is in part, funded by the generosity of the Leadership Council.
To learn more about the Leadership Council, please email us.
The LFSN is a nonprofit partner of 1% for the Planet and eligible to receive donations from 1% member companies.
Questions? gjoshi@ecoanalyze.com
 

August, 2021

 
UPCOMING SESSION
CASE STUDY: HOW HIRING ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYST INTERNS HELPED IMPROVE THE FIRM'S 'WILLKIE GREEN' PROGRAM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2021
9AM PT/11AM CT/12PM ET
Willkie Farr knew if the firm was going to work towards achieving its new sustainability goals, they would need resources. In doing so, the firm created an Environmental Analyst internship program and with its new hires gained these benefits:
  • Perspective and learning from students who are majoring in Environmental Studies, Environmental Justice, or related fields
  • New social media ways to engage stakeholders with tech savvy and on-trend approaches
  • Start new and complete projects with interns who are eager to gain work experience
In this session, learn from Chief Administrative Officer Peter Fradkin and Facilities Manager Melinda Hill why Willkie Farr decided to hire interns in the sustainability space, how the firm hired them and matched them to projects ongoing and new projects. We will also hear from Willkie Farr's interns speak to what projects they assisted with and what the benefit was for them.
2021 Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard
Two items below as it relates to the Law Firm Climate Scorecard that just came out today. Understand what law students are looking for from their law firms (includes an LFSN mention and quote)
August 19, 2021 | Law Students for Climate Accountability
Law Students for Climate Accountability just released its second annual scorecard on climate accountability. They have measured from 2016 to 2020, Vault 100 firms:
  • Had 358 total representations exacerbating climate change 
  • Supported $1.36 trillion worth of transactions for the fossil fuel industry
  • Received $35 million in compensation for fossil fuel industry lobbying
Check the scorecard and read the report. Download the dataset here
August 19, 2021 | The Boiling Point - Los Angeles Times
[Law Firm Climate Scorecard]...The students gave each firm a letter grade from “A” to “F.” The more work on behalf of fossil fuel companies, the worse the grade. Taking on renewable energy producers as clients could improve a law firm’s score.
The results: Thirty-six of the top 100 law firms received failing grades. Thirty-four squeaked through with a “D,” meaning more than two-thirds of the firms couldn’t even manage a “C.” Just three firms received “A” grades, and none earned an “A+.”
“These are well-resourced firms. They’re attracting top talent,” said Michaela Anang, a law student at UC Davis and lead researcher on the report. “We are thinking about how we can be part of the conversation about accountability.”
Prestigious law firms undoubtedly add to their considerable wealth when they take on fossil fuel giants as clients. The question is whether they share responsibility for the enormous climate damage and air pollution these companies cause.
Allen & Overy led the way on fossil fuel industry transactions, facilitating an estimated $125 billion in deals over the five-year period. In an emailed statement, a spokesperson told me the firm does “more renewables work than any other law firm..
Paul, Weiss Law students at Harvard and Yale protested the firm last year, frustrated with its defense of Exxon Mobil in climate lawsuits brought by local governments, sparking a mini-movement that spread to other universities and resulted in hundreds of law students pledging not to work for Paul, Weiss until it drops Exxon as a client...
“Who else but attorneys are so aptly placed to advise fossil fuel clients as to what’s coming, and how to transition?” asked Gayatri Joshi, executive director of the Law Firm Sustainability Network.
Joshi works with dozens of law firms to reduce their environmental footprints, including some in the Vault 100. Her group has its own assessment tool focused on what firms are doing in areas such as energy efficiency, water conservation, limiting travel and supporting sustainability through volunteer work. It doesn’t judge firms based on their clients, but Joshi says that’s a topic veteran attorneys are talking about — especially as law students and young lawyers seek out socially responsible workplaces.
“What makes sense? Do you drop a client? Do you transition a client into different ways of doing things, preparing them for what’s to come within the marketplace?” Joshi asked. “These conversations are happening.”...
Law Firm Business Travel Carbon Footprint
Two items below: The pandemic has showed that reducing business travel is an important part of the carbon reduction strategy, and clients will have new expectations (includes LFSN mention and quotes). As you think about what you can do, read about the interesting different strategies you can consider employing in your firm.
August 18, 2021 | The American Lawyer
United Nations’ scientists warned earlier this month that a certain amount of global warming is now inevitable, saying that swift and deep emissions cuts are necessary to prevent a climate cataclysm.
While government policies will have the biggest role in responding to the crisis, large businesses—including law firms—are in a position to make a difference. That might be even easier at this particular moment, as firms are applying lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to reevaluate how they perform legal work...
“The practice of law is a very human thing, and I think lawyers want to connect with their clients,” said Beveridge & Diamond principal Brook Detterman, who is president of the board of the Law Firm Sustainability Network. “We do want to sit down face to face when it makes sense to do so.”
But this travel is responsible for a significant amount of firms’ carbon footprint...
...like most law firms, the vast majority of [DLA Piper's] emissions fall into Scope 3: indirect emissions generated from business activity. This broad category encompassed 95% of DLA Piper’s emissions...27% were attributed to business travel.
At Freshfields Bruckhaus & Deringer, travel reduction has been an aim since before the arrival of COVID-19. In 2016, the firm set (and exceeded) a goal of cutting travel by 10% by 2020. Part of that has been motivated by environmental considerations, but it’s also motivated by client service priorities.
Clients’ own preferences, including their sustainability concerns, are increasingly likely to inform how their law firms approach travel. Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory, is hearing general counsel lose interest in seeing their outside counsel as frequently as they once did.
“They’re not eager to get back to the type of travel that used to be expected, even if lawyers say, ‘We have to,’” she said. 
Law firms qualify as part of clients’ supply chains, and this gives corporations aiming to comply with the GHG Protocol another reason to push back against their lawyers’ travel. Global insurance giant Swiss Re has recently acted to raise its internal carbon tax from $8 per ton to $100 per ton, with a roadmap to increasing to $200 per ton by 2030. That figure represents the amount the company charges itself in order to account for activities that generate carbon emissions.
“If a law firm goes to visit Swiss Re, that department they’re visiting is going to have to eat the carbon tax or charge it back to the lawyers,” Cone said.
Some environmentally minded lawyers and law firm staff, particularly those living in regions of the U.S. with limited public transit, might feel gratified that they’ve eliminated the impact of commuting to the office during the pandemic. But as firms explore and embrace hybrid work policies, sustainability concerns are largely absent from the conversation. And that’s likely for valid reasons.
“That shift is driven more by consideration of demographics and attraction and retention of talent than sustainability,” said Detterman at Beveridge & Diamond. “I would think that office space and flying are much greater, as a chunk of footprint.” 
Before the start of the pandemic, Chapman & Cutler made the decision in 2019 to move its Chicago headquarters for the first time, after a century in the same building. An analysis of card swipes showed leadership that the spaced was used at 60% to 70% of capacity, on average. The new office—adjacent to several transit hubs—will be 40% smaller than the present one.
“Certainly the reduction of our carbon footprint was a factor in the selection of the building, as well as the design of the space,” said chief operating partner Bill Libit, who also leads the firm’s social Impact and sustainability task force. 
Getting smaller and more energy efficient was a prescient move. But the clearest benefits of “agile work,” as the firm is calling it, are bound to be less in reducing emissions and more in securing and holding onto talent. That lines up with a call from Detterman to alight on a wider understanding of sustainability.
“Sustainability is a broad word, and there are lots of lenses through which to view it,” he said. “Travel is one, commuting is one, and what learned in the last year is that there are others. Human capital has got to be considered part of the issue.”
August 17, 2021 | Fast Company
(If you use any of these ideas, you make sure to note that in your ALISS submission. Not there yet? ALISS has many suggestions on how to reduce the impact from business travel)
Research has shown that companies struggle to apply sustainability initiatives to their corporate travel programs. While close to two-thirds of companies have a sustainability policy, only 35% have one that includes business travel, per my company’s recent research. Yet business trips are one of the biggest corporate contributors to carbon emissions. Any sustainability program that leaves business travel on the table is missing a significant opportunity to reduce their carbon footprints.
GIVE EMPLOYEES A CARBON BUDGET
Give all of your employees an individual carbon budget and enable them to make travel purchases that have a lower impact. Once they’ve used all their carbon allowance, they’ll need to opt for carbon-neutral airlines, sustainable ground transportation, or simply a virtual meeting
RULE OUT ONE-DAY TRIPS
We’ve all been guilty of this one: jumping on a plane to attend a single meeting and flying back the same day. Challenge your company to eliminate one-day or one-meeting trips entirely. Instead, see if you can extend your trip to a few days and try to take as many meetings as you can at the destination...
TAKE THE LONG, MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS WAY HOME
...Employees might be enticed to take slower and carbon-friendlier modes of transportation if they knew that these options actually lend for more productivity time. For example, taking the train from Boston to New York gives you about three hours of heads-down time, versus only 45 minutes by plane. When you factor the travel time to airports from downtown business districts and check-in times, the overall time difference can be minimal. Promoting this messaging internally can help you appeal to busy employees who otherwise wouldn’t consider traveling by rail.
EMPOWER EMPLOYEES TO CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE VENDORS
The same report from my company found that only 14% of organizations are willing to pay more for sustainable travel vendors. With U.S. companies spending tens of billions of dollars per year on domestic travel in pre-pandemic times, committing even 20% of that spend to green-certified businesses would have a significant impact on your company’s carbon footprint. You don’t have to transform your purchasing habits all at once. Every year, try to transition another 5% of your travel spend to sustainable vendors. Of course, you’ll want to get employees on board, too. You might reward employees who choose sustainable transportation, accommodation, and food vendors with gift cards or PTO.
MAKE GREENER PURCHASING CHOICES AT EVERY LEVEL
Currently, only 22% of companies are using sustainability data when making supplier selections. At best, they might take an airline’s carbon offset commitments into consideration, but for every other purchasing decision, they’re in the dark. Expanding your expense tracking to measure everything that happens on a trip can help employees make conscious choices at every level, from the car they hire to the hotel they choose.
ICYMI: IPCC Highlights
MISSED THE IPCC REPORT?
Read more on the Landmark Report
View the Press Conference by clicking on the YouTube link.
Read the report highlights below:
August 10, 2021 | 350.org
– Carbon dioxide concentration is the highest in TWO MILLION YEARS
– The last decade was hotter than any period in 125,000 YEARS
– Sea level rise is the fastest in 3000 YEARS
– Arctic ice level is the lowest level in 1000 YEARS
  1. IPCC scientists say that it’s “indisputable” that human activities are causing climate change, and that almost all emissions of greenhouse gases come specifically from the extraction, transport and use of fossil fuels as well as agriculture and farm animals.
  2. IPCC scientists say that it’s “indisputable” that human activities are causing climate change, and that almost all emissions of greenhouse gases come specifically from the extraction, transport and use of fossil fuels as well as agriculture and farm animals.
  3. Carbon dioxide is bad, but methane is the worst, at least in the short term. Methane (fossil gas) is 88 times more climate altering than carbon dioxide in the short term. Fossil gas is what fuels a lot of our boilers, but it’s also what fracking and gas pipelines leak – all the time.
  4. We need to do all the homework and some more in order to stay under 1.5C of warming. If emissions don’t decrease sharply we’ll burn through our carbon budget of 500 GtCO2 within the next 13 years. There is no way to fix this that does not involve stopping fossil fuels now.
  5. Sea levels are likely to keep rising under all scenarios. Minimum rise projected at 2100 is 0.5 meters, maximum is 1 meter. But the IPCC does not rule out sea level rise of over 15 meters by 2300 with high emissions.
  6. Are we doing anything to reverse or at least slow this down? Well, current emissions trajectories put us at above 3°C, and national climate plans (if implemented) would get us somewhere around 2.4°C. You can see more warming projections associated with different climate plans here.
  7. But what about the infrastructure bill, Next Generation EU, recovery funds? The truth is that only 2% of recovery money has so far gone into a green transition. It’s almost as if a powerful lobby had captured our democracies and were preventing real action…
  8. The fossil fuel industry has known about this for decades. They swept the information under the rug, lied to us and invested billions of dollars in lobbying and advertising to confuse, seed doubts about the science, and delay real action.
  9. The climate crisis didn’t come from nowhere and its progression is not inevitable. Half of the carbon dioxide currently in the Earth’s atmosphere was emitted over the last 30 years. We’ve known about it since the 1980s. The fossil fuel industry has been wasting our time with misinformation, just to make profits at the expense of peoples lives.
August 9, 2021 | Bloomberg Green
  1. The last decade was hotter than any period in 125,000 years. Not only that but atmospheric CO₂ is now at a two million-year peak...All the greenhouse gases have elevated the global average temperature by about 1.1° Celsius above the late 19th century average...Humanity has heated the climate to at least a 100,000-year high. All of the warming is caused by human influence
  2. Scientists can now link specific weather events to human-made climate change. A recently as 20 years ago, for instance, it was virtually impossible to attribute any particular storm or temperature spike to the warming world. But the climate science profession has seen entire specialties emerge and mature since the IPCC’s previous mega-report in 2013. 
  3.  Scientists have narrowed the estimated range for how temperatures respond to greenhouse-gas emissions.Drawing from research on ancient climates, as well as advanced satellite technology that monitors clouds and emissions, new models have narrowed the projections of the atmosphere’s likely response to industrial emissions. That allowed the IPCC authors to focus their temperature projections for the rest of the century, giving humanity a clearer picture of what may lie in store if we don’t act quickly to curtail emissions.
  4. The Earth rewards good behavior. Almost as soon as emissions cease, heating will cease and temperatures will stabilize in a couple of decades. But some effects—such as sea-level rise—will remain irreversible for centuries. It’s a race between the avoidable and unavoidable, and humanity is behind. Scientists broke new ground in this IPCC report by projecting what happens when our emissions get to zero. As the world reduces its use of fossil fuels, for instance, the cooling effect of aerosols will start to decline.
  5. The IPCC’s volunteer scientists build consensus with all UN governments before releasing this report. Sometimes it's a fight. But unanimous agreement among the nations of the world, who all must affirm that the findings are summarized accurately, is a very powerful tool. It’s what makes the IPCC the most authoritative body on global warming. The new report begins with a definitive statement: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.” Tom Evans, climate diplomacy researcher at the think tank E3G, put the implication succinctly: “No government has any excuse to duck their responsibility to act.”
Carbon Estimator for LFSN Members
LFSN is making available a free basic carbon emissions tool to LFSN members. The Carbon Estimator is an introductory high level carbon emissions tool created by EcoAnalyze for LFSN members to help them begin explore carbon accounting.
It will measure the most common sources of emissions: Energy (Scope 2), Paper (Scope 3), Business and Commuting Travel (Scope 3). The tool should not be used for in-depth, formal reporting purposes, which require a more comprehensive and involved methodology. The Carbon Estimator does provide accurate emissions within its scope based on industry standard methodologies and emissions factors.
The GHG emissiosn factors utitlized are derived from the US EPA, UK DEFRA, and EPN. Additioanl data is sourced from the US EIA.
To use the Carbon Estimator:
  • Click 'Edit Measurements'
  • Add your measurements. The help icons will provide additional guidance.
  • Energy by 'office area' will show the emissions as annualized. Note that the Carbon Estimator uses the US Average factor. If you are estimating energy emissions for a particular office, using the office's subregion eGrid emissions factor will be more acccurate
  • Air travel definitions for short, medium and long haul are provided in the help icon
  • Copy Paper requires pounds for data entry. If you do not know the weight of your copy paper, you can estimate using: one ream usually weighs five pounds
  • Click 'Calculate Emissions'
  • Your calculations will be retained in the Carbon Estimator until the next time you edit measurements
  • Click the help icons on the table to view the breakdown of GHG emissions, emissions factor, and emission factor source
  • You may also download the table to excel or download an image of emissions data
Begin exploring your carbon emissions and let us know if you have any questions. We will be focusing a series of webinars on how to reduce carbon emissions.
*You can access the Carbon Estimator through this link, but you can always find int under My Firm on the main menu.
ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVANCES
To plan your communications and engagements
The LFSN, is in part, funded by the generosity of the Leadership Council.
To learn more about the Leadership Council, please email us.
The LFSN is a nonprofit partner of 1% for the Planet and eligible to receive donations from 1% member companies.
Questions? gjoshi@ecoanalyze.com
 

 

 

May, 2021

 

We hope you had a successful and impactful Earth Month!
We kept it quiet as you focused on your programs. We hope all the sessions earlier in year helped you in planning your observances this year, from raising awareness within your communities to actioning efforts to reduce negative impacts and restore our environment.
Keep it going— focus on promoting natural processes, green technologies, and innovative thinking that can protect and restore our ecosystems.
If you missed a launch date for your program or announcement, leverage UN's World Environment Day on June 5th.
LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
LFSN welcomes
Chapman & Cutler LLP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
to the Leadership Council of Firms
CHAPMAN AND CUTLER LLP
Sustainable and responsible business purchasing, and investing are important to Chapman and Cutler, our clients and business sources, and the attorneys and support professionals who join our firm now and into the future. Chapman’s Social Impact and Sustainability Task Force includes members from across the firm who oversee and guide Chapman’s social impact and sustainability programs and practices and promote opportunities to partner with clients. Our Practice Green team implements these programs and practices, improving our use of resources, steering our purchasing power toward environmentally friendly vendors, and offsetting our carbon footprint. To learn more, stream our Practice Green video.
DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE LLP
Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT) is dedicated to delivering excellent legal services in a manner tailored to each client’s particular needs and preferences. This commitment has remained intact for decades as the firm has continued to grow. Today, DWT is a full-service AmLaw 100 firm with approximately 580 lawyers in eight offices on the east and west coasts of the United States. We are recognized for excellence in a broad range of fields, including environmental and energy law, with 86 of our attorneys across 31 practice areas cited as leaders in their fields in the most recent Chambers USA guide, and over 170 of our attorneys across 70 practice areas are included in the 2020 edition of "The Best Lawyers in America."
DWT established a firm-wide Sustainability Committee at the end of 2019. This committee comprises attorneys and staff at all levels from across all eight of our offices and is dedicated to implementing innovative and effective initiatives that will result in better business practices and provide benefits to the environment and our communities coast-to-coast. 
LFSN BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2021
LFSN welcomes its new Board of Directors for the 2021 year elected from the Leadership Council of firms, each brings extensive leadership to their roles.
Please meet our newest board members:
Brook Detterman, Barrie Handy and Doug Domenick.
BROOK DETTERMAN
PRESIDENT
Brook Detterman is a Principal in the Boston office of Beveridge & Diamond, a national environmental law firm. Brook's practice is focused on climate change, renewable energy development, and sustainability matters. Brook has been named as "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers and currently serves as co-chair of the Beveridge & Diamond Air & Climate Change practice group.
Gayatri Joshi
VICE PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Gayatri Joshi is Vice President of ecoAnalyze, an eco-consultancy dedicated to the law firm community and of Vorgate LLC, whose social impact platform helps to track and measure giving. She works with law firms of all levels engaging in environmental sustainability and social impact initiatives. 
Mary McGuire
TREASURER
Mary McGuire is the Chief Administrative Officer of Nixon Peabody LLP, leading a team of support personnel focused on delivering high quality, responsive and efficient service to internal and external clients. Mary’s goal is to ensure Nixon Peabody’s facilities are properly equipped and secretarial and services personnel are skilled, client service oriented and available to efficiently and effectively support clients. Mary and her team work hand in hand with attorneys and colleagues across local offices and the Global Shared Services Center to leverage their collective set of skills to achieve this goal.
Mary and her team are focused on delivering excellent client service to our attorneys and clients and work collaboratively to implement best practices and position resources. Mary strives to support the firm and clients’ commitment to diversity, pro bono service and sustainability. Operational practices and resources are tightly aligned with these commitments. Nixon Peabody proactively seek out opportunities to implement sustainable work place practices. Mary and her team’s accomplishments in the area of sustainability include earning LEED certification for multiple U.S. office build outs, including the first LEED certified law office in the country.
Barrie Handy
SECRETARY
Barrie Handy is the Social Impact Senior Manager at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (DWT), where she oversees and manages the firm’s sustainability, philanthropy/charitable giving, board/civic service, and community service/volunteer programs and initiatives.  Barrie joined DWT in 1982. Prior to joining the firm’s Pro Bono and Social Impact department in 2019, she spent 28 years in the firm’s marketing and business development, and administration departments. Barrie is also a co-founder of the Legal SASI (Sustainability and Social Impact) movement.
Douglas Domenick
BOARD MEMBER
Doug Domenick is Director of Facilities and Office Services at Chapman & Cutler LLP. He oversees office services and facilities operations for all Chapman offices. Doug manages the procurement of goods and services, reception and conference room services, facilities benchmarking, and security and emergency preparedness. Doug is also responsible for managing environmental and sustainability initiatives, space planning, renovation, and relocation projects.
Prior to joining Chapman in 2017, Doug spent 20 years at an Am Law 150 firm, where he managed office properties and spaces.
Pamela Cone
CORPORATE ADVISORY
Pam joined Milliman Inc. in 2003 and served as the Chief Marketing Officer for 15 years. In 2018, Pam turned her attention to serving as the firm’s Global Social Responsibility Officer. Milliman is the largest privately held actuarial consulting firm in the world and has been embracing its role in “giving back” to society since its inception in 1947, but has only recently begun tracking, measuring and setting its strategic goals to reflect its mission of “protecting the health and financial well-being of people everywhere.”
Prior to joining Milliman, Pam’s previous experience included 12 years with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, a Seattle-based national law firm, where she served as director of client services and development. Prior to DWT, Pam served two other law firms in marketing and communications roles.
In addition to her role at Milliman, she is the founder and CEO of a CSR & Sustainability Consulting firm called Amity Advisory which focuses on helping professional service firms assess, evaluate and build social impact and sustainability programs – moving from transactional “random acts of kindness” to robust transformational, collaborative programs.
THANK YOU
Daniel Krainin
We celebrate Dan Krainin, principal at Beveridge & Diamond, who has served as President of LFSN for nearly ten years. We are saddened to see him step down as we will miss his leadership, but we thank him for his service to LFSN. He has been a mainstay and generous supporter of LFSN. We wish you well Dan!
We will be honoring Dan. Details to come.
LFSN MEMBER HIGHLIGHTS
Here are how some LFSN members are communicating their intentions and good work in sustainability. From doing the work through ALISS, to publishing an inaugural sustainability report to creating a Tik Tok video.
Read NGE's press release on completing the ALISS assessment and earning a Gold certification.
Watch Willkie Farr's TikTok video on Carbon Literacy and read its Sustainabilty Report.
View Latham’s inaugural Environmental Sustainability Report which was issued on Earth Day.
LFSN UPDATES & RESOURCES
COMMITTEE POSITIONS OPEN
LFSN has 1-2 open volunteer positions left for each of the following committees. You or anyone in your firm is eligible to participate. Generally, the committees will meet quarterly, or as needed, decided by the committee. Use the Volunteer Button below to email your interest.
Membership & Collaborations Committee
The committee is focused on engaging current and potential members to join LFSN as well as helping to foster collaborations with like-minded organizations in alignment with LFSN’s mission.
The committee will identify and help implement strategies to raise awareness of the LFSN amongst law firms and legal departments and help identify and prioritize member feedback. The committee will also identify organizations and develop opportunities for collaboration (e.g, ABA SEER) and programming initiatives for the benefit of LFSN members.
Sustainability Analytics Committee
The committee is focused on identifying priorities for analytics, including benchmarking, market landscape, etc. The committee will review needs and provide insight for projects such as sustainability landscape reports, the next scope of the ALISS assessment, and other LFSN tools.
WORKING GROUP
*We are also forming a working group to focus on law firm issues and interests in regards to reporting frameworks (e.g., Ecovadis, IntegrityNext, etc.).
NEXT SESSION
Legal Industry Sustainability Landscape Report 2021
You are invited to join our next session discussing the key findings of the CSR & Sustainability State of the Legal Industry Report 2021.
Have you noticed the increased interest from clients on Social Responsibility and Sustainability? You know your law firm should care, what's the next step? Learn what to prioritize from CSR & Sustainability in the Legal Industry key findings.
PREVIOUS SESSION MATERIALS
Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization
Michael Gerrard and John Dernbach's book, published by the Environmental Law Institute, provides a “legal playbook” for deep decarbonization in the United States, identifying well over 1,000 legal options. We hear from the authors as well as from Arnold & Porter on their experience.
Get involved. For attorneys and individuals who would like to support the LPDD project on a pro bono/volunteer basis.
Metrics and Pathways to Create a Sustainable Legal Organization: Introduction to LFSN & ALISS
Learn how Beveridge & Diamond and Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg continue to prioritize sustainability with the support of ALISS
and how participating in the assessment is one important step the legal industry can take to reduce environmental impact and help address climate change. You will also will hear from SEER leadership on how a recent ABA resolution on climate change and the SEER Pro Bono Initiative both support law firms and legal organizations in promoting sustainable development.
View Earth Day Planning materials which can also be used for World Environment Day in the Resource Library. Click image.
ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVANCES
To plan your communications and engagements
The LFSN, is in part, funded by the generosity of the Leadership Council.
To learn more about the Leadership Council, please email us.
The LFSN is a nonprofit partner of 1% for the Planet and eligible to receive donations from 1% member companies.
Questions? gjoshi@ecoanalyze.com