SECTIO 9 SOCIALLY RESPO SIBLE WORKI G PRACTICES

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1 SECTIO 9 SOCIALLY RESPO SIBLE WORKI G PRACTICES RECOMME DED STA DARDS WITH EXAMPLES FOR CO SIDERATIO The examples given at Annex 1 show practices which have been introduced by various businesses and institutions. They are neither exhaustive nor mandatory: they are shown to stimulate ideas and focus discussion. 9-1

2 I TRODUCTIO TO SECTIO 9 1. This is a new section in the Practice Management Guidelines. It is important for the following reasons: a. The Bar is a highly regarded profession: out of all proportion to its physical numbers. Everyone, both in the home and in the workplace, is being encouraged to make changes to reflect a more socially responsible attitude to the way in which we live and work. The Bar should play its part in this. Thus, the formulation of socially responsible working practices is a general good in which the Bar should wish to participate as a responsible profession. b. Sooner or later, those who use public money will require those whom they fund to demonstrate that they have proper policies to address these important issues. Already some local authorities are making this requirement of Chambers they instruct. This inevitably is going to become a norm rather than an exception. Therefore, the adoption of socially responsible working practices is in the direct commercial interests of the Bar. c. Chambers are not islands. They are visited every day by members of the public. They employ a number of staff. They are seen by the outside world. Having socially responsible working practices is becoming an important feature of proper professional management within Chambers and failure to address these issues will look increasingly anachronistic and isolated and will reflect upon sets of Chambers in particular as well as the Bar in general. These proposals are therefore also in the interests of individual practitioners. 2. Most Chambers have a series of ad hoc measures in this area from undertaking pro bono work at one end of the spectrum to switching off unnecessary power at the other. The purpose of these guidelines is to encourage Chambers to look at what they do already to promote responsible social working practices, consider what more they could do and to organise these efforts sensibly and coherently. 3. The working practices described in the following pages deal with two broad areas: the first is the Bar s role in the community and the second is the impact on the physical environment which barristers have in their working lives. 4. The guidelines which follow are not exclusive or inflexible. Above all, sets of Chambers are encouraged to develop, revise and expand policies in these areas. Although some of the highlighted measures may seem too small to make a difference this would not be the case if a change in attitude spread across the workplace generally. Many businesses, large and small, have put such policies in place. Staff in many sets of Chambers already have various schemes for paper recycling and the like. Many of the changes are also economies. 9-2

3 5. What is important is that each set of Chambers considers its responsibilities in this area, examines its present efforts and formulates policy to give effect to socially responsible working practices. New thinking and initiatives will doubtless emerge as society as a whole grapples with these issues. The guidelines which follow are not set in stone. However, ignoring the problem cannot be an option for a socially responsible profession. 6. Finally, the Bar consists of highly intelligent problem-solving individuals and there will doubtless be any number of individual ideas coming from the profession if proper thought is given to the subject. The Bar Council (through the Professional Practice Committee) is happy to disseminate the best of these if individual members and sets of Chambers pass them on. 9-3

4 9 SOCIALLY RESPO SIBLE WORKI G PRACTICES - RECOMME DED STA DARDS 1. Barristers and the wider community 1.1 Chambers should take the opportunity to consider relevant and appropriate steps to enable it to play a part in the wider community. 2. Barristers and the Environment 2.1 Chambers should carry out an audit of its environmental impact and document the areas in which improvements can be made with a view to minimising waste and consuming fewer resources. 2.2 Chambers should develop an environmental policy which should include a clear statement of commitment to improving environmental performance. 2.3 Chambers should monitor and review the policy as patterns of behaviour change and new initiatives can be added. SOCIALLY RESPO SIBLE WORKI G PRACTICES 3 Introduction 3.1 Many barristers and sets of Chambers already give their services and their support to the wider community. The challenge is to build on and expand this role where possible. There is no doubt that these initiatives have a real impact in the outside world bringing benefits to those who are assisted, enhancing the reputation of the profession and informing barristers about current issues and concerns which in turn makes them better practitioners. 9-4

5 3.2 Also it is widely accepted that climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. Good environmental management not only minimises the impact but will bring efficiencies which could pay dividends by reducing overheads and cutting costs. 3.3 Over the past 20 years, government-funded studies of energy efficiency campaigns have found that most companies can save up to 20% on their fuel bill simply by managing their energy use, and in investing in cost-effective energy efficiency measures. While using less fuel means lower carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions, there are many other ways that chambers can reduce its environmental impact and save money. Cutting down paper usage is one example of this. 3.4 As well as containing recommended standards and implementation advice, this section also contains basic information on other measures which chambers might consider adopting. Such information is included to raise awareness and to offer specific information which might be helpful. 4. Expanding the Remit: Social Responsibility Chambers may want to look more widely at other social responsibility issues such as commitment to the welfare of others or to the community in which it operates. Most chambers do some of this work. It includes pro bono work, donations, work experience, support for local organisations and use of facilities. Anything which benefits the community outside of chambers and which is not undertaken primarily for commercial reasons could be included in this category. 5. Step by step approach to environmental management 5.1 Step One: Secure the support of key practitioners and staff in Chambers. Commitment at the highest level will be essential for the long-term success of your environmental strategy. It should be stressed that commitment is more than a simple statement of support. It should establish accountability among those involved in 9-5

6 implementation of the strategy and should require regular appraisals of progress. 5.2 Step Two: Conduct an environmental audit. Audits can be undertaken by chambers itself, or by an outside organisation such as an Environmental Consultancy. The basic role of the audit is to identify: What waste is being generated, how and where it is being generated Energy consumption over a measurable period, how it is being used and how usage compares with other chambers Opportunities for: reducing waste and use of energy, reusing and recycling wherever possible, maximising the life-span of products and equipment, using purchasing power to bring about changes Potential cost savings 5.3 Step Three Building a consensus An audit is likely to suggest several areas for action. Consult within the organisation and get feedback on priorities. Chambers should develop a policy which makes clear its commitment, its long term goals and its immediate intentions. If this is not regarded as a priority, an incremental approach based on what is realistic is most likely to be successful. It should be drafted in a way that can be easily understood by everyone in chambers and by customers and clients. Whatever the approach, there needs to be a commitment to implementation, systems in place to deliver results and a regular review of progress. 6. Sharing Information Chambers are encouraged to share information on environmental and social responsibility initiatives which save money and have a proactive impact. 9-6

7 Annex 1 Examples of environmentally friendly/ socially responsible working practices: Minimise waste: Use real mugs, glasses, plates and cutlery instead of plastics and disposables Arrange for milk to be delivered in returnable bottles rather than cartons. Use a caterer which makes sandwiches on the spot and does not overpackage them. Reuse: padded bags, cardboard boxes, envelopes for internal circulation Environmentally friendly products Use eco-friendly cleaning products Recycled toilet tissue/ hand-towels Recycled paper/ non-bleached paper for copying machines, brochures and letter head Reusing and Recycling: Recycle paper, printer cartridges, drinks cans, glass and plastic bottles Recycle telephones, computers, furniture to organisations that can use them Recycle lever arch files when cases are completed Old library books can go to one of the Book Aid schemes Use both sides of paper. Set printers to default to double side printing. Remove duplicates and out of date addresses from computerised mailing lists. Use reusable fasteners for paper rather than staples. 9-7

8 Disposable pens can be replaced by refillable ballpoints and fountain pens. Disposable pens are also now available from recycled plastic and there is a range of refillable marker pens Energy Savings: Switch off lights, copiers, TV s, PC s when not needed. Save paper and reduce copying by ing documents whenever possible Heat energy can be lost through drafts and poor insulation. Cavity wall insulation and double glazing should be considered where appropriate. Flat LCD screens and Laptops use less energy than plasma screens. Energy can be saved by having proper procedures for turning off electrical equipment and the heating system each evening. Purchase a proportion of green energy (energy generated from renewable resources). Transport Coordinate an Environmentally Friendly Transport policy for Chambers which would include promoting cycling, transport sharing and the use of public transport. Offer bicycle loans to staff as an alternative to season tickets Social responsibility Support for local schools, charities, voluntary and community groups through talks, work experience, donations, use of facilities Fair trade/ organic purchases Ethical banking Pro bono work/ volunteering policy for staff Use suppliers with an environmental/ social responsibility policy Going beyond the minimum requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act/Equality Code 9-8

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