b'FROM THE AusLSA CHAIRS Welcome to the 2023 AusLSA Annual Sustainability Insight This year saw the easing of the direct disruption caused by the Covid 19 restrictions, however many other critical issues have now grown in urgency and are demanding greater attention from law firms. Indigenous reconciliation This year the referendum to recognise First Nations People by establishing a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution failed to gain sufficient support from the Australian public. The failure to establish a clear national commitment has disappointed many supporters and will likely change the perceptions and approaches of many First Nations stakeholders and highlights the role we all must play to re-engage and rebuild trust with First Nations People.Climate Action The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report from March 2023 found that the window to achieve the 1.5C warming target is closing, and urgent action is critical to avoid the greatest costs of climate change. With many firms welcoming and encouraging their teams to spend more time in the office and lawyers clearing a back log of travel needs, there has been increased pressure impacting headline climate indicators of AusLSA members.Greenhouse gas emissions have increased twenty-seven percent in the last 12 months, but remain thirty-eight percent lower than the last full pre-Covid 19 year in 2019. Greenhouse emissions from business travel increased by 109 percent over the last 12 months however, the current level remains at thirty-nine percent below the pre-Covid 19 year in 2019. Paper consumption increased by five percent in the last twelve months but has reduced by a massive 1,394 percent since the last pre-Covid 19 year in 2019But there is also some positive progress.Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity reduced eighteen percent, after several years of similar reductions,Renewable electricity is now thirty seven percent of total electricity purchased by the group which is an increase of 1,280 percent since 2019,Carbon offsets grew to 57,697 tonnes which reduced the groups net emissions by forty-nine percent,Thirty-four percent of firms have committed to greenhouse gas emission targets, and a further twenty four percent were developing them (twenty-two percent of firms were developing or already had net zero Science Based targets). AusLSA is leading the Climate Action Co-lab program where law firms come together identify to best options to commit and deliver lower greenhouse gas emissions. Modern Slavery AusLSA is also leading the Modern Slavery Co-Lab for law firms to learn and collaborateto address modern slavery. Firms are increasing their efforts to understand the nature and prevalence of modern slavery and where it may be present in the components of the products and services they use. The more they learn, the greater the opportunities for firms to install the required processes to identify, intervene and remedy instances of modern slavery they may uncover. While the AusLSA membership can be proud of the advances we have made together the challenge is very much ahead of us and the stakes are higher than ever.Brendan BatemanKelvin OConnor Co-Chair, AusLSACo-Chair AusLSA Partner, Clayton UtzConsultant1'