Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) for law firms in 2024

Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) for law firms in 2024

View profile for David Gilroy
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I caught up with an old business associate just before Christmas, and he has an interesting story to tell.

Roger McKerlie runs his own ESG consultancy, Xeed ESG, focusing on a new economic and environmental future for businesses in the £10m to £300m revenue range. It shouldn’t be surprising that these businesses are next in line for a major focus on their sustainability behaviours.

He tells me that, aside from the obvious need to contribute to reversing climate change, the biggest motivating factor for these medium-sized businesses is the increasing pressure from their corporate clients to change their behaviour, particularly around reducing their carbon footprint.

The bit that got my attention in my chat with Roger was when he told me that he is working with several law firms in London and the southeast, particularly Kent, where he is based.

Growing numbers of firms are having meaningful conversations with their clients around ESG, and they are bringing Roger and his team into the debate, but it also appears that several are looking very closely at their own sustainability practices.

He says that he is getting more and more enquiries from law firms that feel they need to begin their own journey to Net Zero to talk with credibility to their clients. It’s been a topic that has come up in conversation with several of our clients, who have all expressed the need to prioritise this for 2024. After all, just like with their marketing, firms doing what they have always done will no longer stand out in a crowded market.

Roger told me that the firms he is partnering with are more confident in advising clients about “green” issues from corporate reporting to greenwashing and climate litigation. Interestingly, he said he is also working with many accountancy firms, and they are happy to accept an introducers fee, whereas the lawyers are not!

Whatever their motivation, he tells me this is a growing area of interest for law firms, and the leaders in this space are embedding their ESG behaviour into their brand messaging, whether that be their website, social media, award submissions and more. The legal sector is taking a stand and bumping ESG up the priority list.  It’s something that, at Conscious, has been on our radar too, and we are looking into becoming a B-Corp business.

Law firms that demonstrate a commitment to ESG principles are sure to be able to enhance their reputation, attract clients who prioritise sustainability, and differentiate themselves in a competitive market in 2024.

Another topic that has come up repeatedly in our conversations with law firms is the difficulty in recruitment and retention. Embracing ESG could also be a game-changer in attracting and retaining top legal talent.

If you are interested in finding out more about tackling your law firm’s ESG, Roger is keen to chat with our clients about their ESG without any commitment on your behalf.

As he says, we need to collaborate like never before if the planet has a chance of survival.

You can contact Roger through me or directly at roger@xeedesg.co.uk.

Tell him I sent you. I don’t get paid, it just makes me look good!