Frequently Asked Questions about Environmental Reporting
You can also see the feedback from some of our members after reporting for the first time here

 

Why report?

Reporting on your firm's sustainability and calculating your environmental consumption is fundamental to a responsible business approach. It provides your firm with a sustainability baseline and that enables you to set targets for future reduction and enables improvements to be measured when new strategies and initiatives are implemented. The reporting process also helps identify aspects of your business that could be more sustainable and perhaps benefit from closer scrutiny. 

Providing AusLSA with information about your sustainability commitments, activities and achievements also benefits the broader legal sector as it allows AusLSA to develop and maintain industry benchmarks. AusLSA shares this bench marking information to build a broader understanding on the standards of sustainability leadership and performance that are achievable for different types of Australian law firms. 

 

Do we have to report?

No, we understand that not all law firms will be in a position to report immediately, but as AusLSA member we hope you will be working toward reporting. 


As an AusLSA member you have made a commitment to the AusLSA Principles which include: 

  • Developing  a shared understanding of the value that sustainability provides across our businesses
  • Working collaboratively to build the capacity of our peers, suppliers and other stakeholders to improve their sustainability 
  • Engaging in the public debate to develop, apply and promote best practice across the sector
  • Measuring, managing and improving the sustainability of our businesses
  • Reporting on our progress and being accountable

Do we have to publicly report?

No, you can submit your sustainability information to AusLSA and request that it remain unpublished.  

For members who are concerned about going public, this option allows your firm to recording your sustainability baseline and benchmark your positions with other firms. Your data also contributes to AusLSA’s sectoral analyses. 


Electing to publish your report promotes your commitment to sustainability and if you don’t publish your report, you might miss a good news story when, next year, you find your performance has improved!  

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When do we report?

Reports are based on the financial year and we request submissions by 23rd of August so that a report can be published by Early November. Please discuss any concerns with the timeline with Richard Jennings - we will always do as much as we can to ensure you have sufficient time to submit your data. 


Should we wait to report until we report once we have implemented our sustainability programme?

It is a much better idea to commence reporting as soon as possible, ideally before you implement any sustainability programmes. Then, you will be able to see your impacts improve. The improvements you will be able to demonstrate also make a great news story to tell your stakeholders partners and staff. 

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What data do I need in order to report?

AusLSA carefully considered access to data when designing the Reporting Framework and reporting process and identified data that was easily accessible in law firms and simple to input into the SRAT reporting tool. You will need: 

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What about base-building consumption, like heating and cooling?

We decided to exclude base-building emissions from heating, cooling, air-conditioning and common-space energy use for two reasons: 

Data access. Usually management and control of these energy sources is the responsibility of the landlord and the data held by building management, and 

With multiple tenants and without sub-metering, the only way to estimate your firm’s consumption of these sources is to use a proportion of total consumption. This means that your allocation may not reflect your relative consumption efficiencies compared to other tenants. 


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How does AusLSA’s reporting framework compare with others? 

The SRAT was developed by sustainability professionals. The greenhouse methodology used has been verified by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management and adheres to reporting standards including the GHG Protocol and the ISO 14064.1.AusLSA has taken care to develop a tool which is accurate and robust, but which also accounts for the fact that data collection can be difficult in law firms.  

 

Additional social sustainability measures for the pillars of People, Community and Governance have been developed with reference to;

  • the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),
  • The UN;'s Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • peak bodies and thought leaders in the legal sustainability sector, 
  • sample sustainability reports from Australian law firms, and
  • the expectations of key law firm customers and stakeholders.

Where can I get more help?

AusLSA's Sustainable Reporting and analysis Tool(SRAT) provides substantial online help: each question has a help button marked with a question mark. 

If you require extra help, you are always welcome to contact AusLSA for advice, 

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Where do I find the online SRAT?

Here: 



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