The Power of Climate-aligned Contracting

The Power of Climate-aligned Contracting

Matthew Gingell

Discover the power of climate-aligned contract drafting with Matthew Gingell and understand how to evaluate a law firm's commitment to sustainability.

Discover the power of climate-aligned contract drafting with Matthew Gingell and understand how to evaluate a law firm's commitment to sustainability.

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The Power of Climate-aligned Contracting

9 mins 7 secs

Overview

Climate-aligned drafting, which involves writing contractual provisions to manage climate-related risks and opportunities associated with climate change, represents a significant action within the legal sector to help in the global transition to net zero. Using your legal spend to purchase net-zero legal services and partnering with law firms committed to sustainability will also ensure your organisation is meeting its climate goals.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand what climate-aligned drafting is and how it can impact a business

  • Identify the practical steps for choosing a net zero legal service provider

  • Outline how organisations can ensure their legal spend is helping and not hindering the journey to net zero

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Summary
What is climate-aligned drafting? 

Climate-aligned drafting involves drafting contractual provisions to allocate and to deal with both the specific climate-related risks and the opportunities associated with climate change in the global transition to net zero. Contracts can be a powerful tool to ensure climate goals stay top of mind. Some organisations, although committed to sustainability, can be halted in their progress if locked into long-term contracts with counterproductive climate terms. 

Contracts can inadvertently cement the status quo, hindering progress towards more sustainable practices. Climate-aligned drafting provides an alternative and more proactive approach in the legal sector. 

What are operational and advised emissions in the legal sector?

Understanding operational and advised emissions is crucial in selecting a legal partner aligned with an organisation's sustainability goals.

Operational emissions include the direct impact of a law firm's activities, including energy consumption in their offices, travel for business purposes, and resources used in daily operations. 

Advised emissions are more indirect. They involve the environmental impact of the legal advice given by firms, for example, facilitating transactions or advising on projects that have significant environmental footprints. For instance, financing the extraction of petroleum from oil sands. 

What are the practical steps for choosing a net-zero legal service?

Selecting a net-zero legal service requires diligence and strategic thinking. Start by researching law firms known for their green initiatives and sustainability efforts. Then, create a shortlist of firms that speak about sustainability but demonstrate clear, tangible actions towards achieving it. Finally, engage with these firms and ask them to set out their position in a request for proposal. Ask direct questions about their sustainability practices and ask for evidence or third-party certifications. 

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Matthew Gingell

Matthew Gingell

Matt Gingell is the General Counsel of The Oxygen House Group, a global investment firm focused on making the world better. He is an in-house solicitor and frequently speaks on ESG and sustainability matters. Mathew founded The Chancery Lane Project, a global network of lawyers and business leaders using climate contracting for decarbonisation. He authored the climate contracts doctrine, which focuses on ground-level commercial contracts creating global environmental outcomes. He has been embedding ESG objectives into investments since 2014 and is an ESG Advisor to the QantX fund. He is also an External Associate of Exeter University's Centre for Environmental Law and a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability.

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