b'ENVIRONMENT| LEGAL SECTOR| 2020SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHTENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCEEnvironmental reporting has been a feature of AusLSAs reporting since 2009 and includes the greatest level of quantitative information provided the report.2020 has been unlike any other year in AusLSAs reporting history. From January 2020 the operations of law firms, which normally include significant amounts of domestic and international travel and the operation of extensive facilities and equipment, changed dramatically.This years results reflect the massive reduction in the amount of travel undertaken and office vacancies in both Victoria and NSW. Changes also reflect a major shift in how interactions with clients and the courts occur. A range of stakeholder relationships, transactions and processes shifted to online and virtual realms which has further reduced consumable and other waste production. Up until this year most of our members had completed many of the practical energy efficiency opportunities at their offices which had resulted in a plateauing of their energy savings. The most recent changes in work practices made necessary because of COVID, while potentially short term, provide new experiences that test some of the existing assumptions and provide interesting alternative options about the working environment and the level of resource use in law firm offices. This year AusLSA has observed an increase in our members efforts to more formally embed these commitments, using systems such as AusLSAs Environmental Management System (AEMS), to guide their measurement, planning, monitoring and continued improvement.Such systems more clearly demonstrate to clients and members of the firm that they are proactively and effectively managing their environmental impacts in a time where this is of increasing global importance. Nine AusLSA members currently have and EMS in place. In 2020 AusLSA built a new online version of its environmental management tool and guidance resources. The tool helps firms to develop a formalised and structured approach to environmental management with the option of an external review and certification. A further eight AusLSA members opened a new account in the AusLSA EMS tool this year.This years report continues to measure all the parameters counted in previous years including the following environmental impacts:greenhouse gas emissions from office-based consumption of electricity and gas;greenhouse gas emissions from air and car travel;greenhouse gas emissions from the use of refrigerants;damage to forests and other ecosystems from the harvesting and production of paper andland degradation and resource wastage through the management of waste and recycling.Note. Minor year-on-yearadjustments have been made to this report that reflect updated greenhouse gas emissions co-efficients for electricity and business travel. This provides alignment to the National Greenhouse Emissions Regulations (NGER) standards.2020 AusLSA Member PerformanceDespite the COVID-19 pandemic, it was pleasing to see that thirty-three member firms participated in AusLSAs member report this year. This represents 20,901 law firm employees. While there were some early predictions that member firms may reduce employee numbers due to the pandemic we found that employees actually increased by 508 compared with last year. A breakdown of our member firms showed that 13 firms had some level of headcount reduction while the remaining 20 grew in number.COVID proved to have a significant impact on all our other business operations causing a significant reduction in resource use. The various state government lockdowns and firm-based safety measures reduced the consumption of electricity in members offices. The barriers to travel also significantly reduced emissions from their business travel. The levels of paper generated from a greater use of remote working, also decreased markedly.Member firms reduced their gross total greenhouse gas emissions by twenty-eight percent per employee from last year and their total paper use by twenty-one percent per employee.While the COVID-enforced circumstances provided members with greenhouse gas emission reductions, it is pleasing that this did not dissuade members from the continued purchase of offsets, which represented twenty-eight percent of gross total emissions.While the impacts on COVID in the medium and longer term are uncertain, the high levels of disruption are almost certain to initiate a range of business changes surrounding how we to work and communicate. The environmental data from 2020 shows how the environmental impacts of law firms operations would significantly improve if this happens.GROSS VS NET GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS Tonnes C0 -e per employee24.19 4.26 4.01 3.922.803.29 3.39 2.96 2.922.012016 2017 2018 2019 2020Gross Net52'