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Freshfields signs pledge committing to greener arbitration practices

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) has signed the ‘Green Pledge’, an initiative led by the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations (CGA) to minimise the impact of arbitration on the environment, a further step in the firm’s wider global environmental strategy.

The CGA is a global initiative, founded by international arbitrator Lucy Greenwood in 2019, to reduce the environmental impact of international arbitrations through behavioural change. The CGA seeks to raise awareness of the significant carbon footprint of the arbitration community and promotes best practice in managing arbitrations in a sustainable way.

As a signatory of the ‘Green Pledge’, Freshfields will endeavour to comply with eight guiding principles to ensure the carbon footprint and environmental impact of its arbitration practice is minimised.  Representatives from the Freshfields International Arbitration Group, Stephanie Mbonu and Olivier André, have also joined the CGA Steering Committee, made up of a diverse group of individuals representing key stakeholders in the international arbitration community.

The Campaign’s Guiding Principles are:

• Creating a workspace with a reduced environmental footprint by looking for opportunities to reduce energy consumption and waste
• Corresponding electronically, unless hard copy correspondence is expressly needed in the circumstances, while also being mindful that email has a carbon footprint
• Encouraging the use of videoconferencing facilities as an alternative to travel (including for the purposes of conducting fact finding or interviews with witnesses)
• Avoiding printing, requesting the use of electronic rather than hard copies of documents and promoting the use of electronic bundles at hearings
• Using, where possible, suppliers and service providers who are committed to reducing their environmental footprint (including for the purposes of arranging an arbitration hearing)
• Considering and/or suggesting, where appropriate, that witnesses or experts give evidence through videoconferencing facilities, rather than attend hearings in person
• Avoiding unnecessary travel and using videoconferencing facilities as an alternative
• Considering and questioning the need to fly at all times and offsetting carbon emissions for any arbitration-related travel. 

Tim Wilkins, Global Partner for Client Sustainability, commented: “Our clients have moved their sustainability agendas into their core working practices and I am proud that Freshfields can do the same with its commitment to the Green Pledge. How we deliver our services has a profound impact on our environmental footprint and by working smarter around paper consumption, travel and other practices, we can materially reduce carbon emissions and contribute to the fight against climate change.”

Boris Kasolowky, co-head of the Global International Arbitration Group, commented: “We can change our world for the better daily. This important initiative is a great way for any arbitration practitioner to play their part.”