b'FROM THE AusLSA CHAIRS Welcome to the 2020 AusLSA Annual Sustainability SnapshotThe 2019-2020 reporting period covers a year of unexpected disruptions and massive hardships for many Australians and people around the world. While this years Legal Sector Sustainability Insight cannot provide a complete review of the experiences and lessons from the continuing pandemic, it does begin to show some of the impacts of these disruptions on AusLSA members as well as the challenges faced by their people, clients and the community. Importantly the report also provides some early insights about what our members are learning regarding new ways of working which may provide promise for a more sustainable legal sector for the future.Like most Australians, AusLSA members commenced the year contemplating the urgency of climate change action after a worsening four-year drought, closely followed by the five-month Black Summer bushfires. We were all shocked by the extreme levels of personal, social, ecological and economic losses caused by the fires that will be experienced by many for years to come. The fires killed at least 34 people and caused widespread respiratory illnesses and mental health issues. It is estimated that three billion terrestrial vertebrates were also lost with many endangered species expected to have been driven further toward extinction. The economic cost has been estimated at A$103 billion which includes the loss of 5,900 homes and buildings, extensive infrastructure damage and economic loss to business. The destruction of over 186,000 square kilometres of mostly forested ecosystems have intensified Australias ongoing biodiversity loss and the emission of over 306 million tonnes of CO2 resulting from the fires increased our countrys annual greenhouse gas totals by 60%.While Australia was still recovering from this disaster, we joined the world in dealing with the emergence and spread of the COVID pandemic. The pandemic is still with us and the human and financial losses will take many years to fully understand.While no-one predicted the year that we have had, AusLSA members were far from unprepared. The resilience shown by law firms provides evidence of the advantages of sustainable organisations. The sustainability related investments in workplace, community, environment, and governance have all helped law firms to deal more effectively with the challenges of COVID. As a result, our members seem to have avoided the worst-case commercial scenarios, and are adapting quickly and effectively managing the changed risks and demands. One of the clearest changes we have seen in the report this year is the increased adoption of remote working practices over the last five months of the reporting period. Electricity used in firms offices has reduced by twenty-two percent and greenhouse gas emissions from travel by thirty three percent. Members paper use, which had shrunk by twenty two percent over the previous four years reduced by a further twenty-one percent this year. Next years report will help us to understand how many of these changes represent the new-norm, and the longer-term impacts on environmental and other sustainability performance.We are particularly pleased that AusLSA was able to continue assist our 41 members firms in their sustainability journey, and that despite immense business disruptions, the vast majority of these members were able to continue to report their sustainability progress.Brendan Bateman Kelvin OConnor Co-Chair, AusLSA Co-Chair AusLSA Partner, Clayton UtzConsultantAusLSA is grateful to Instant Flipbook for their assistance in presentation of this report. 1'