Herbert Smith Freehills has become a founding signatory of the Greener Litigation Pledge, an important industry-led initiative aimed at reducing the environmental impact of litigation.

The Pledge is a commitment by law firms, barristers’ chambers and other organisations involved in dispute resolution in England and Wales. Signatories agree to take active steps to work toward minimising the environmental impact of dispute resolution, including the two principal sources of emissions incurred by litigants: printed documents and (especially international) travel. To see the full list of the Pledge commitments, click here.

The Pledge is the first act of the Greener Litigation Project, a collaboration between like-minded leading disputes practices. Beyond the immediate aim of changing the way in which dispute resolution practitioners conduct litigation, the Project’s longer term goals include acting as a catalyst for change in litigation rules and practice, to reach the position where the most environmentally sustainable options in litigation become the default.

Jan O’Neill, in Herbert Smith Freehills’ London Disputes team, is a member of the Greener Litigation Project’s Steering Committee and commented: “At a time when the pandemic has accelerated the need for court system reform, and also opened up new possibilities, it is crucial that climate change be front and centre of discussions about what dispute resolution should look like. The Pledge is an important step in ensuring that happens.”

At the same time, the firm has also signed the Green Pledge of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations (the CGA), a global initiative aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of arbitral proceedings. (For more information, see our Arbitration team’s report here).

Herbert Smith Freehills’ support for both pledges is a significant step in meeting our target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030, and supports our firm-wide global sustainability strategy. In addition to supporting our commercial clients and pro bono partners to meet the challenges of climate change, an important part of that strategy is leadership within the legal sector. In other recent developments the firm:

  • has joined forces with other legal sector leaders to fight climate change as a founding member of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance (NZLA) – a coalition of commercial law firms committed to helping the world achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • earlier this month joined 13 other influential global companies and brands as members of a Global Alliance to support the Earthshot Prize – the ambitious global environmental prize to discover and scale the best solutions to help repair the planet over the next 10 years
  • will be heavily involved in the Sustainable Innovation Forum running alongside COP26 this year.

To enquire about signing up to the Greener Litigation Pledge, contact Jan O’Neill or submit an enquiry through the Greener Litigation website, here.

Jan O'Neill
Jan O'Neill
Professional support lawyer
+44 20 7466 2202