Law firms create legal charter to fight climate change

updated on 30 June 2023

Reading time: one minute 

An initiative to aid law firms in addressing the climate crisis was launched by eight commercial law firms this month.  

Known collectively as Legal Charter 1.5, Bates Wells, Clyde & Co LLP, DLA Piper UK LLP, DWF Group Plc, Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, Mishcon de Reya LLP, Osborne Clarke LLP and Taylor Wessing have joined forces to identify key principles to assist in firms’ commitment to fighting climate change.  

The charter outlines eight core principles

  • reducing internal emissions; 
  • reducing external emissions from clients; 
  • reducing global emissions; 
  • helping to reform public policy; 
  • increasing accountability; 
  • education across the legal profession; 
  • focused pro-bono; and 
  • meaningful offsetting.  

Each principle, which firms commit to when signing, is underpinned by corresponding projects to focus firms’ efforts and ensure targets are met. 

The launch of this charter comes at a significant time for the legal industry, owing to the increasing demand for law firms to deliver clear, concise roadmaps of their sustainability efforts. The charter was also launched just days before the beginning of London Climate Action Week (24 June – 2 July 2023).  

Lubna Shuja, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said the creation of the charter “represents another important step being taken by the legal profession in relation to the climate change crisis”.  

The collaboration was equally applauded by Dr Thom Wetzer, associate professor of law and finance at the University of Oxford, who said: “The legal profession has the potential to do tremendous good and it can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. That is why the launch of this Legal Charter is such a welcome step forward.”