MBA releases Green Guidelines and issues an environmental pledge

Issue January 2008 By Jennifer Rosinski

Lawyers across the state can take as few or as many steps as they choose toward saving the environment by signing onto the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Lawyers Environmental Pledge to implement the MBA Green Guidelines.

The MBA, in collaboration with the Conservation Law Foundation, launched the pledge and guidelines Jan. 8 as the next step in its Lawyers Eco-Challenge. The program urges lawyers to change the way they think and act while conducting business in order to conserve energy and resources.

“The Massachusetts Bar Association is proud to be able to provide practitioners with the Green Guidelines, a comprehensive document with tips and resources that will help lawyers make their offices more Earth friendly,” MBA Executive Director Marilyn J. Wellington said. “The MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge is an important initiative that encourages attorneys to consider their impact on the environment during the work day and beyond.”

The MBA’s Energy and Environment Task Force, a group of more than a dozen attorneys, has written the pledge and compiled the guidelines. Both documents are available in early January at and were e-mailed to members of the MBA.

The pledge, which must be completed by one representative from each law firm or company, asks parti-cipants to become “pledge partners” and adhere to the MBA Green Guidelines.

The MBA Green Guidelines focus on eight core areas of sustainability: energy conservation, paper reduction, recycling, greenhouse gas reduction, environmentally conscious purchases, sustainable practices, education and support for environmental conservation.

“We all know that as lawyers and as citizens we have a duty to fight global warming and resource depletion. The steps outlined by the task force give every lawyer easy ways to reduce the impact of the practice of law on our planet,” MBA President David W. White Jr. said. “Lawyers need to be leaders in the fight against climate change. I hope every MBA member will share in this effort.”

The MBA Green Guidelines offer detailed and specific suggestions for altering behaviors, updating products and services and taking actions that will result in more sustainable practices, as well as energy and resource conservation.

The guidelines also include resources to help tenants negotiate environmentally friendly changes with landlords. A comprehensive resource guide, as well as numerous tips, are posted and will be updated regularly on the Eco-Challenge Web site,, and sent to members via e-mail.

The task force is co-chaired by Nancy B. Reiner, a partner at Brown Rudnick in Boston, and Susan M. Reid, a CLF staff attorney and director of the CLF Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative.

CLF, New England’s leading legal advocacy organ-ization working to protect the region’s environment, is a partner in the MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge.

“The Green Guidelines and Eco-Challenge pledge give practical guidance to lawyers and law firms who care about reducing the impact they have on the environment,” said CLF President Philip Warburg. “As we face the greatest environmental challenge of our generation, global climate change, it is incumbent upon all of us to take action and speak with one voice for a healthier, cleaner future.”
White unveiled the MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge in September and later formed the task force, on which he sits.

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