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Inside Arbitration: Towards greener arbitrations: Achieving greater environmental sustainability in the way we work

20 August 2020 | London
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At Herbert Smith Freehills, we have stringent sustainability targets, as do many of our clients. As a business, we strive to find innovative ways to ensure we work in a more environmentally-friendly manner, and assist our clients in meeting their sustainability targets.

In a bid to identify how we can reduce our environmental impact, we have conducted an arbitration case study, which has enabled us to understand where most carbon emissions come from in our arbitrations and what action we can take to decrease and limit them.

Following the results of our study, our London arbitration team has launched an environmental sustainability initiative aimed at helping our clients reduce the carbon footprint of their arbitrations by introducing changes to the way our cases are run. As part of our relationship with our arbitration clients, throughout their arbitrations, we can explore ways of working that will directly impact on the carbon footprint of the proceedings, and help our clients meet their own sustainability goals. Please get in touch with us if you would like to hear more.

HSF arbitration case study: the carbon footprint of a medium-sized arbitration

We have mapped out the carbon footprint of one of our previous London-seated arbitrations on which London-based fee earners have worked.1

Carbon Emissions

  • The figure relating to energy  is based on the number of fee earner hours recorded on the matter. It has been assumed that these hours were recorded in the London office.
  • The figure relating to travel represents the CO2 emissions (kg) resulting from flights and taxis fares.
  • The figure relating to materials represents the CO2 emissions (kg) resulting from the production of the materials used in the arbitration.
  • The materials considered comprise paper used for printing and photocopying and USB drives.

A medium-sized arbitration on average requires just under 20,000 trees to offset the carbon emissions created by that one arbitration – a number equivalent to four times the number of trees in Hyde Park or all the trees in Central Park.2


1. Details of these data calculations are available separately on demand.
2. Data published by Lucy Greenwood, founder of the Pledge for Greener Arbitration.

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