Environmental Sustainability in UK Legal Firms: A Review of Progress, Challenges and Opportunities

Alex Hope, Jennifer Stephens

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The threat of climate change and other global sustainability challenges has prompted organisations of all types to consider their impact on the environment. In the legal sector, law firms are beginning to recognise that there is a need to reduce their carbon footprints whilst developing strategies to capitalise on the cost savings and other opportunities environmental initiatives can create. Despite this little is known about the response of the legal sector to the challenge of climate change and sustainability in general. Whilst there are a number of academic studies that examine the environmental performance of organisations by sector, there are none that are focus solely on legal firms. This paper seeks to address this gap in the literature by reporting on the efforts of the legal sector to respond to sustainability challenges. Using data acquired from the Legal Sector Alliance, an inclusive movement of law firms and organisations committed to working collaboratively to take action on climate change, it reviews progress on environmental performance. The paper also comments on the unique opportunities and challenges that the sector faces in attempting to reduce its impact on the environment and develop a strategy for embedding wider principles of sustainable development.


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