Mobilising commercial law firms, lawyers and law for climate mitigation and resilience

Major Law Firms Launch Net Zero Lawyers Alliance to Commit to Accelerating Global Transition to Net Zero

London, 30 June, 2021: An industry-led group of leading law firms are founding members of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance (NZLA), a coalition committed to accelerating transition to net zero emissions by 2050. The NZLA will launch on 30 June during London Climate Action Week (LCAW).

The launch of the Alliance, a flagship event at LCAW underlines the commitment of commercial law firms to help to accelerate Race to Zero. Member firms recognise their own role in the transition towards global net zero emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), both directly and through the legal services they provide. The NZLA is an approved Accelerator for the UNFCCC Race to Zero.

All members of the NZLA support the goal of achieving Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5C (Net Zero). As members of the Alliance, they are each committing to reducing their operational emissions by at least 50% by 2030 from 2019 levels, using robust, science-based targets.

The Alliance will help to reinforce, accelerate and support the implementation of internationally coherent legal frameworks and guidelines for transition to net zero by 2050. It recognises the critical role of commercial law firms, lawyers and law in achieving transition and decarbonisation and the need to work across sectors to achieve this.

Inaugural members are Arthur Cox, Baker McKenzie, Bates Wells, Burges Salmon, Castrén & Snellman, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, DLA Piper, Draper & Draper, Eversheds Sutherland, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. & Quiroga, Mishcon de Reya, Pinsent Masons, Pollination Group, Reed Smith, Shearman & Sterling, Slaughter and May and Taylor Wessing.

NZLA members commit to ensuring that they engage with their clients’ own transition and decarbonisation objectives. To achieve that, members commit to implement dedicated climate change related training and pro bono targets throughout the firm. By committing and capacity building, and by working on collaborative initiatives to convert legal instruments to help drive systemic change, member law firms seek to help align client net zero ambitions within their contracts, terms, and enforcement.

By committing and capacity building, and by working on collaborative initiatives to convert legal instruments to help drive systemic change, member law firms seek to help align client net zero ambitions within their contracts, terms, and enforcement .

Member firms recognise that commercial law can act as connective tissue in transitioning energy, infrastructure and transport, industry and land use systems to align with, and accelerate the delivery of climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

Speaking on behalf of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, spokesperson, Wendy Miles QC of Twenty Essex, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance as an Accelerator to Race to Zero and flagship initiative of London Climate Action Week, and to welcome the inaugural member firms to the NZLA.”

Mark Carney, Chair, Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance Adviser to the Prime Minister for COP26, said: "It's fantastic to see the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance bring commercial lawyers into the collective effort to support businesses and financial institutions transition to net zero. Collaboration between lawyers and financial sector members of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero will be an important part of building a financial system for net zero ahead of COP26."

Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Champion for COP26, said: "Radical collaboration across the systems of our global economy is essential to effectively tackle climate change. The Net Zero Lawyers Alliance will accelerate the Race to Zero and facilitate systemic change in law and legal practice to help deliver a zero-carbon world in time."

Christiana Figueres, the founding partner of Global Optimism and former executive secretary, UN Convention on Climate Change, said: “Commercial lawyers are critical to the informed transition of energy, industry, infrastructure and land use systems to net zero. The Race to Zero benefits enormously from their guidance in commercial contracts as well as suggestions for forward leaning commercial law."

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