Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector


Download AusLSA Report 2015 - 5.1 meg

Executive Summary

  1. From the AusLSA Chair
  2. Introducing Social Sustainability
  3. Electricity use down
  4. Business travel down
  5. Paper use decreasing
  6. Carbon Offsetting increasing



AusLSA Annual reporting expands to cover the sustainability of people, community and supply chain management while continuing to record consistent reductions of firm’s environmental impacts.


Our collective reporting on these issues is another milestone in our sector’s maturity and transparency in addressing the things that matter and is important to our collective success. We believe that, not only does this form of reporting create value for our member firms and their employees, but it is increasingly a core expectation of our our clients, governments and the community.

We have also retitled this report from being an ‘Environmental Insight’ to a ‘Sustainability Insight’, to reflect our journey towards being demonstrably more sustainable. We are pleased to report that our member firms have embraced this broader social reporting. All of our executive member firms have provided more information on how they are addressing material issues in our sector and overall 78% of our reporting member firms have provided similar information. 

We are also pleased to note that our members have continued to reduce their environmental impacts across the three environmental categories that we monitor; greenhouse gases, paper use and waste. This year members have reduced their greenhouse gas intensity by 8% (or 14% over the last two years). 

Members also reduced their paper use per employee use by 9% (or 11% over the last two years). Our waste recycling index has improved marginally, with recycling of comingles, paper, organics and e-waste available in an average of 81% of facilities.

In early 2016, the board will be developing a new strategic plan to steer AusLSA to 2020. The new plan

will build on AusLSA’s achievements during the past six years and position the alliance to respond to the sustainability challenges and opportunities that we face both as an industry and as important part of the community. We hope all our members and stakeholders will take the upcoming opportunities provide their views about the future direction and priorities for AusLSA. 

We again thank our members for their candid contributions to this year’s report and look forward to

ongoing expansion of this reporting over the coming years.

Brendan Bateman and Kelvin O'Connor 
Co Chairs, AusLSA
Partner, Clayton Utz

The Report is based on the environmental profiles of 32 of our 40 Members and reveals a sector-wide reduction of all of the environmental metrics that we monitor; emissions, electricity, travel and paper.

Electricity emissions down

This year the average emissions from electricity use was 2.52 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents (t CO2e) per employee a reduction of 8% from last year. 

Business travel emissions down

On average, 1.82t CO2e per employee was generated by business travel which represents a decrease of 7% since last year.

Over three years, we have observed a reduction of 16% in greenhouse gas emissions per employee reflecting a continuing focus on electricity and travel reduction by firms. 

Paper use decreasing

Paper consumption per employee has also decreased in the last year from 120kg to 108kg; a decrease of 9%.

Since the commencement of reporting in FY2010, average paper use has decreased by 23% which has collectively saved 646 tonnes of paper. 

    Carbon Offsetting increasing

    This year, saw another  significant increase in the volume of carbon offsets purchased; 11 firms engaged in some carbon mitigation, three of which are carbon neutral. These offsets reduce the total carbon emissions from all Reporting Members by 23%, as well as providing significant investment in renewable energy and offsetting projects.

    Expanding further into Social Sustainability 

    This year’s report is the second year of a four stage expansion program to generate a sustainability profile for the sector and our member firms. 

    The phased approach to law firms reporting on issues such as workplace practices, employee diversity, community support alongside environmental impacts and will align AusLSA reporting to the developing expectations of corporate governance as well as the pre-requisites of law firm clients.

    Last year our Executive Members commenced ‘Phase One’ of this expansion by describing how they were addressing the sustainability of their people, community and suppliers. This year all our general members have been invited to report on these areas. Executive Member reporting has now graduated into ‘Phase Two’ of the program which includes more specific reporting on how they address these material issues.


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