UK law firms sign climate crisis pledge Legal Charter 1.5

A group of UK law firms have launched Legal Charter 1.5, a set of core principles designed to support the sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with 1.5°C goals by setting net zero targets.

The Legal Charter 1.5 sets out eight core principles, including a methodology to measure the impact of advised emission reductions, how legal staff can be trained to support the initiative and how firms should report their annual progress.

The first eight members to sign the Legal Charter 1.5 are Taylor Wessing, Bates Wells, DWF, Osborne Clarke, DLA Piper, Mischon de Reya, Gowling WLG and Clyde and Co.

The University of Oxford’s associate professor of law and finance, Dr Thom Wetzer, said the legal profession “has the potential to do tremendous good” and can be part of the solution to the climate crisis.

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He also said that new standards were needed across all sectors of the industry, from “investment management agreements that account for green preferences, to sustainability-linked bonds and contracts-for-difference in the hydrogen market”.

“Investors need guidance and policymakers require training,” he added.

“Committing time and expertise to that cause, if well-directed, can rid us of obstacles that currently hold back the net-zero transition. This charter will help us, collectively, to move along this path.”

In April 2023, The Law Society launched its climate change guide for solicitors on greenwashing and how climate change risks may be relevant to legal advice.

Law Society president Lubna Shuja said climate change effects on legal practices are “wide ranging and constantly evolving.”

“Solicitors should be aware of this changing landscape and its potential impact upon their organisations, as well as on the legal advice they provide,” she added.

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