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Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector


  • 19 June 2014 3:53 PM | Anonymous member
    In recent AusLSA Legal Sector Environmental Insights reports, it has been noted that in many law firms, business travel (primarily flying) continues to increase and now represents nearly 40% of the total emissions of an average law firm. While the motivation for reducing travel often comes from a desire to reduce costs, reducing business travel has an added bonus of greatly reducing the associated environmental impacts.

    AusLSA Members are now measuring the environmental impacts of their firm travel but how are they managing it?

    The AusLSA Travel Policy and Procedures Survey sought to understand how Australian law firms are currently managing their business travel by asking what alternative technologies are being implemented as well as what policies and procedures are being utilised.

    • 85% of firms use webconferencing
    • 90% have videoconferencing facilities.
    • 44% are using Microsoft Lync
    • 33% have telepresence

    Three-quarters of firms are using virtual meeting platforms for internal meetings, but nearly 2/3 of firms are using virtual technologies for meetings with clients (30% frequently and 30% occasionally).

    Nearly 60% of firms think that technology has had an impact of = the firm’s need for travel, only 15% of firms believe it has been a significant impact.

    A number of barriers were thought to exist to greater use of virtual meetings, including a lack of knowledge of virtual technologies (30%) and inadequate understanding of their functionality (30%).

    Habit was identified as the most significant barrier (60%) to greater use of virtual meetings. This analysis indicates that training and communication campaigns on virtual meetings would significantly increase take-up.

    However, nearly 90% of respondents think that virtual meetings can’t completely replace the value of face-to-face meeting indicating that business travel will continue to be a necessary component of legal practice for the foreseeable future.

    In most firms (nearly 90%) all staff are required to fly economy class for shorter flights. Business class is made available only for longer flights (more than 5 – 8 hours or overnight).

    Most of the surveyed firms use the services of a Travel Management Company (90%). However, nearly 40% of firms DON’T have a policy and/or procedure for approving flights for business and 1/3 of surveyed firms still allow staff to book their own flights. From this is can be inferred that many law firms could improve their management of business travel including increasing control or oversight of travel taken by their staff.

    Many firms do not have programs to encourage travel to local meetings by means other than taxi. 30% of survey firms make public transport tickets readily available for staff to travel to local meetings

    Generally where a car is needed to travel to a meeting, firms reimburse staff for personal car use, or arrange a hire care. One firm has started to use car share schemes for some journeys.

    Nearly a third of firms don’t have facilities that encourage staff to cycle to work but 25% support their staff to purchase long term public transport tickets (but note that this is not an option in all Australian cities).

    In a win for flexible working objectives, 90% of firms allow working from home occasionally and 82% allow working from home on a regular basis.

    [Click to Download] 
  • 08 May 2012 1:57 PM | Anonymous member

    Business Travel in the Legal Sector

    The Legal Sector Alliance’s (LSA) first in depth business travel survey was completed by 30 law firms in England and Wales with a combined expenditure of around £50 million on business travel. 

    This report explores the issues that are important to law firms when managing their travel programmes and describes how carbon emissions from business travel are being managed and reduced. 

  • 22 March 2011 2:01 PM | Anonymous member

    Maddocks: Bicycle Users Group

    Cost to implement None
    Cost savings No direct savings, but on average each cyclist saves 1 hour per week on commuting time.
    Environmental impact/savings One cyclist saves about 4.5kg of CO2 per week compared to
    commuting by car, or 1.5kg compared to taking the train. 
    Implementation Issues Communication, staff engagement


    A Bicycle User Group (BUG) is simply a way for cyclists in a workplace or community to join together. The objectives may vary from being purely social to campaigning for better cycling facilities.

    Programme details

    The Maddocks Bicycle User Group (BUG) has 33 active members in Melbourne and 8 in Sydney and its own page on the Maddocks intranet. BUG is intended to support the cyclists at Maddocks especially by passing on knowledge and encouragement from the more experienced riders to those just starting out riding, especially commuting to and from work.

    ‘Generally, the firm is supportive of alternative transport,’ says Charlie Bell the organiser of the Group. ‘They are encouraging of people riding in and showering at work. We have showers in both the Sydney and Melbourne offices. It’s a passive way of encouraging an active lifestyle.

    Many of the Bicycle User Group’s members ride all year around. But the major focus each year is on Ride to Work Day in October.

    ‘We spend a couple of weeks beforehand promoting it in both the Sydney and Melbourne offices. The firm provides a breakfast on the day with pastries, yoghurt and muesli. Any assistance we have asked for, the firm has always provided.’

    The next request for support from the firm? ‘We’re looking at getting a team strip done,’ says Charlie. ‘It would put the Maddocks brand on cycling events like Around the Bay in Melbourne and the Sydney Spring Cycle’.

    In Melbourne, bike parking is provided and in Sydney riders park their bikes in their offices.

    The intranet page includes tips and links relevant to cycling including to travel smart information. An example of the information on their pages advise:

    Cycling to work is surprisingly easy with a little forward planning and preparation. For distances from 5km - 15km to work from home, cycling is usually comparable with driving or public transport in terms of travel time, and often the fastest method to go point-to-point. Plus, it's inexpensive (a good bike, helmet, lights, panniers, lock and a waterproof jacket can be had for the same outlay as an annual Zone 1 Metcard!) and an efficient use of time - an hour otherwise spent sitting inactive is used for exercise, saving time and gym fees! Studies have shown that on average, people who walk or ride to work use 1.5 fewer sick days a year than those driving or using public transport.

    There is also a BUG email distribution list set up on Outlook and cycling events and information on cycling is promoted to via this forum.

    Pamphlets and posters promoting cycling events like the Great Victorian Bike Ride are also displayed and available throughout the firm.

    What were the results?

    A recent survey indicated that around 40 people commute by bike at Maddocks on a regular basis. This is about 10% of the partners and staff.

    These cyclists average about 3.5 days a week commuting by bike (mainly using public transport the rest of the time). They cycle about 11 kilometers which is approx 35 minutes each way and advise they save themselves about 10 minutes each way by bike compared to their alternative method of commuting.

    That's about an hour a week saved in travel time, and significant CO2 savings - about 4.5kg per week compared to driving and 1.5kg a week compared to using the train.

    Prepared by

    Shirley Hamel
    Director of Knowledge and Business Services

  • 01 December 2010 1:52 PM | Anonymous member

    Sustainable Transport Guide

    Emissions from transport account for approximately 15 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your organisation’s transport footprint is a visible and often immediate way of showing commitment to sustainability to your customers and staff. It will help you demonstrate a point of difference from your competitors by enhancing your reputation. The sustainable transport strategies outlined in this Guide act as a starting point for organisations. This Guide is intended to help your organisation reduce carbon emissions from transport and you can save money at the same time.

    Greenfleet and the Net Balance Foundation are both strong advocates for sustainable transport, partnering to develop this Guide. We aim to encourage and support innovative practice and decision making in sustainable transport across all businesses as a result. 

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