In these pages two weeks ago, Alison Macnab and Gillian Mawdsley from the Law Society of Scotland wrote about the role of lawyers when it comes to climate change. They noted the crucial United Nations COP26 conference in Glasgow, now rescheduled for November 2021. The authors referred to lawyers managing their own environmental impact at work without expanding fully on what that might actually mean.
Last week, mediators around the world launched an initiative to address just that issue, with the Mediators’ Green Pledge. We noted that mediation is a sustainable, efficient, cost- effective way to resolve disputes and other differences. As a mediation community, we also noted that we have talked about how we might mediate climate change issues. However, we recognised that we have probably not spent the same amount of time talking about how, as a community, we might address climate change in our own behaviour and practices.
We concluded that the time has come to address our contribution to the climate emergency facing us all. The move many of us have made to online mediation in response to the pandemic has shown us that environmentally-friendly ways of mediating can be both easily accessible and highly effective. The Green Pledge outlines concrete steps that each mediator can take, both during and after the pandemic, to reduce the impact upon the climate of each mediation we conduct.
As I write this, already well over 100 mediators from over 30 countries in every part of the world have subscribed to the Pledge, indicating their support for an initiative which could significantly influence the way in which we conduct many mediations. The pledge is a broad foundation upon which, we hope, mediators will build with their own further measures tailored to their practices. Each case is different of course and flexibility is important, as in every mediation process.
The Pledge’s wording could be useful as the legal profession considers what it might do:
“As a mediator committed to ensuring that I minimise the impact on the environment of every mediation I am involved in, I will ensure that, wherever possible:
As one supporter wrote: “This pledge is a commitment that has no end and whether it is formalised or just remains a contract to myself, it feels really good to have begun it. Thank you for giving me the nudge!”
Published in The Scotsman, Monday 2 November 2020
Read more here and subscribe to the Green Pledge
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