hands with latex gloves holding a globe with a face mask

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) has been described as the new CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It is all very trendy these days with origins seeming to lie in a 2004 UN Report: Who Cares Wins.  

ESG may jar with your traditional law firm model.

  • You are a business.
  • You are in business to make money.
  • You don’t have time for the fluffy stuff. Leave that to those with time on their hands?

Make time! ESG is simply an on-trend way to say that “you care”.  

ESG = Sustainability

Acronyms are popular in management speak. ESG can, however, translate into something more tangible: Sustainability.  

Buzzwords are popular in management speak. Sustainability, can, however, translate into something more tangible: keeping the doors open!

Environmental

The Legal Sustainability Alliance (LSA) has actually been around since 2007 and was previously known as the Legal Sector Alliance. Its website has some fairly decent resources to help your law firms do more than tick a box.  

Think about:

  • Using ‘real’ cups rather than plastic ones
  • Print double-sided 
  • Tweak toner settings to last longer
  • Donate old equipment to charity rather than the bin
  • Making charitable donations instead of sending Christmas cards
  • Shop local 
  • Reuse envelopes were possible 
  • If a room isn’t being used, turn off the lights 

Turning off a single computer when not in use instead of on standby can save as much as £5 every year and turning one-off that would have been on screen saver mode can save up to £45 a year

Saving money will help with sustainability keeping your doors open.

Social

As a young barrister, I was involved with my local Citizens’ Advice Bureau. More recently, I’ve been helping out with a foodbank. To me, this is not ESG/CSR.  To me, it was just about helping out. Apparently not!  

As a profession, lawyers are geared up for pro bono work whether we like it or not. Traditionally, it is not something you shout about. This may feed into misperceptions about the profession. We are not (all) bad people!

  • Think about supporting a ‘charity of the year’ that aligns with the work you do, such as Brain Injury Matters
  • Share your fundraising activities on your Social Media
  • Post good news stories on your #Blawg

Sharing, and changing, perception will help with sustainability keeping your doors open.

Governance

According to LSA:

Over 150,000 people work in the legal sector and therefore management in firms are adopting structures that empower employees to take responsibility for the sustainability of their work. For example, staff can be engaged in this task by linking ESG responsibilities to performance appraisal criteria and/or remuneration.

Effecting an ESG culture in your law firm will help with sustainability keeping your doors open.

Win / Win 

  • ESG says “you care”.  
  • ESG saves, and might even make, you money.  
  • ESG helps with keeping the doors open sustainability.  

To find out how delivering unique, engaging content to your law firm clients can help to transform your bottom line, get in touch.

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By Paul Sullivan FRSA

Creating unique, engaging content for your law firm clients