8 Principles that make a difference

Private Practice Law firms working together to drive transformational change

About the Charter

Legal Charter 1.5 is a high ambition initiative – that has been developed collaboratively – by a group of large commercial/corporate law firms, to shift thinking, and drive transformational change to mitigate the climate crisis.

The launch of this Charter comes at a crucial time for the legal sector, where a credible, integrated approach to sustainability and commitments to mitigate the impacts of climate change have never been more important.

HOW WILL THE CHARTER WORK?

The 8 Charter Principles

The Charter consists of a set of common principles, which signatories commit to support, to make the best contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the speed and scale necessary to restrict global temperature increases to no more than 1.5°C.

Participating firms will make a public commitment to eight core principles:

Charter Signatories

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“Climate change is a profound societal challenge, and one that the legal sector has a unique opportunity to positively influence through firms’ internal and external operations. DWF has had a long-standing commitment to deliver positive outcomes with our colleagues, clients and communities and we are proud to be founding members of the Legal Charter 1.5. It is now more important than ever that our industry and others take concrete steps to work together to tackle climate change.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chief Executive Officer at DWF

“The legal sector has a key role to play in delivering a safe climate. That objective requires a high level of ambition by the participant firms to achieve clear and measurable goals. The Charter enables firms to set those goals by reference to a concise set of implementable principles that assist them to review and audit their progress. Importantly, while that framework encourages, where possible, collaboration with other firms and climate organisations, it also recognises the important of each firm working with their clients to achieve the objective. Taylor Wessing is proud to be a part of this project.”

Shane Gleghorn, Managing Partner at Taylor Wessing

“We are proud to be a founding member of Legal Charter 1.5. The core principles of the Charter align with our ESG strategy, and we are committed to collaborating with our clients and the other participant firms to address the impacts of climate change.”

David Fennell, Chief Executive of Gowling WLG (UK) LLP

Why this matters for law firms

The impacts of climate change are of real relevance and consequence to law firms, their clients and people. It is a material issue for clients and there is already growing demand across private practice for law firms to clearly communicate a clear roadmap to Net-Zero.

Almost all human activities which have material impacts on the climate either directly or indirectly involve the legal sector. Therefore, the sector has a vital part to play in leading transformational change to mitigate climate change.

The legal services sector makes up approximately 2% of the UK’s economy, employing over half a million people, making it an ideal platform to promote and deliver meaningful change and leverage common purpose for positive effect.

“The launch of the 1.5C Charter represents another important step being taken by the legal profession in relation to the climate change crisis. Our recently released climate change guidance sets out how solicitors and law firms can continue to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges of climate change.”

Lubna Shuja, President of the Law Society of England and Wales

“The legal profession has the potential to do tremendous good and it can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. That is why the launch of this Legal Charter is such a welcome step forward. It will allow law firms to share expertise with those seeking to improve the current system. The legal profession needs new standards – 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. 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.”

Dr Thom Wetzer, Associate Professor of Law and Finance at the University of Oxford,

Dialogue Partners

The Charter has been developed with a wide group of firms who have contributed in significant ways to the drafting and shape of the Charter text and continue to contribute to the working group discussion. These supporting law firms, who are not current signatories but are engaged with the Charter, remain vital to its success, in their role as Dialogue Partners.

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