Beth Kayser

3 ways to spark mindful climate action in law firms

3 min Read
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I want to commend law firms for some impeccable organisation around their collective journey to net zero. From the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance and Legal Sustainability Alliance, to the law firms setting science-based net zero targets, the industry is showing real commitment. 

Similarly, employee wellbeing is high on the legal agenda. Initiatives such as the Institute for Well-Being in Law and The Mindful Business Charter shows that the industry is taking the issue to heart. According to the Institute for Well-Being in Law, the industry suicide rate is 1.33 times the national norm. This is clearly an issue that requires attention.

As many firms have already clocked, these two issues – wellbeing and sustainability – are completely intertwined. For example, research suggests that climate action can help with climate anxiety (which is on the rise). Spending time in nature is proven to promote mental health. Cycling or walking to work can improve physical health. Etc. etc. etc. 

The benefits of uniting these two journeys range from the oh-so-clinical (but very important) ‘cost savings’, through to more effective and impactful actions taken. That’s something that we at Pawprint can certainly get behind, and I’m sure your firm can too. 

So, today it’s my mission to contribute some ideas to aid this direction of travel. Here goes…

3 ways law firms can enable employees to take mindful climate action

1. Slow travel days and book sharing

To incentivise employees to choose low-carbon travel (not flying or driving in a half empty car) firms could offer additional annual leave. 

At Pawprint, we call them ‘slow travel days’, and they’ve been a real hit. My teammates and I feel equally as great about the carbon we’ve saved, as the ‘day to do nothing but travel’ we’ve nabbed. Through slow travel, we’re also able to slow down our journey and really soak up the experience!

On that note - another little eco-action to tag on to this one is to facilitate a book/audio book sharing club. A book shared is carbon halved, and there’s nothing quite as peaceful as a good story on a train.

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2. Vegan/veggie/seasonal cooking

They say ‘you are what you eat’, so if you want your employees to be good to themselves and the planet, you’ve got to empower them to do that. 

There are so many ways to eat healthily whilst lowering the impact of what’s on your plate – from cutting down on red meat and dairy, to eating food that’s grown locally and in-season, to trying your hand at growing your own little veg patch! You can also tackle food waste through activities like meal planning, or reduce food packaging by bringing your own food or doing a zero waste shop. 

From cooking/gardening lessons, to discounts at zero waste stores, to providing cutlery and crockery in the office, law firms can facilitate all of these activities rather easily. So why not give it a go?  

3. Volunteering in nature / communities or pro bono

Research shows that a key way to combat eco anxiety is through actions that are linked to activities out in the community; particularly those that enhance health and social connectivity. 

How can your firm encourage this? What about pro bono hours for climate/environmental cases, covered by the firm?

Alternatively, offer volunteer hours to employees, for projects which get them out in nature and help them feel a sense of belonging. Some of my favourites include GoodGym, Thames21, and Seawilding, but there’s thousands of nonprofits taking the same approach. 

When you consider that stress greatly impacts productivity, there’s no ‘billable hours’ argument to be had. ‘Ultimately, we get the best out of our people when they’re at their best.’ – The Mindful Business Charter. 

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