Sustainability as a maturity journey
In the previous blog of our series, we heard from Yannick and Adrian about the importance of law firms supporting GCs on sustainability while balancing their own commercial realities.
The final blog of our series highlights that legal professionals do not need to have all the answers on sustainability, but they do need to start somewhere. Sustainbility should be recognised as a journey, but that journey will be more fruitful if looked at more strategically.
How do we address the issue of continuous improvement on sustainability? If you start from somewhere small, how do you keep up the momentum as legal professionals?
If you want to make progress and create impact, one key element is transparency. Transparency is a very broad term, but it's about expressing where you stand and where you want to go. Either you are willing to be transparent in a proactive way, or you are made transparent with no control or input into that message.
It's not about having all the right answers before, let's say, you publish a sustainability report but rather being clear in that report where you are in that journey.
As it relates to the maturity of the journey, many law firms have a good tradition of initiatives such as reducing paper, moving away from plastic cups, etc, but these are all initiatives taken in isolation. It is a very good starting point, but the impact of ESG and sustainability on law firms go beyond this. It should encourage tougher internal discussions on, for example, client acceptance policies, or stands on key social issues. Large companies all articulate culture and values. But not many law firms have articulated this. That's something I would argue in the short term they should do because that helps them focus their initiatives and ensure they all comes together.
You can call it the True North, that every decision you take and every initiative you launch will be rooted in very clear values. It is a lot of work, but the important thing is to just get started and learn as you go.
In case you missed it, read parts 1-5 here.
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Ampersand Partners is a management consultancy bringing strategic clarity and execution momentum to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, regenerative economy. The Energy Transition and Sustainability practice helps energy companies navigate the energy transition and non-energy clients deliver their net zero ambitions.