Our Local Impact
An important feature of our sustainability efforts is seeking out leased space that reinforces our responsibility to lower consumption of natural resources, reduce emissions and manage waste. Most of our global offices are located in high-performing structures that have the added benefit of being less costly to operate. While not every country embraces LEED certification, we specifically seek out properties that design to LEED, BREEAM, PEARL and other international green building standards.
Reducing, Reusing and Recycling
The view inside our offices reveals the emphasis Sidley places on reducing the firm’s impact on the environment. Such efforts include:
- Motion sensor-controlled office lighting
- Use of environmentally friendly cleaning products
- Installation of duplex printing software on all network printers
- Programs that allow employees to donate/recycle old cellular phones, batteries and obsolete computer equipment
- Recycling of aluminum, glass, paper, plastic and toner cartridges
- Firm-offered transit benefits and bike storage to encourage use of public transportation
- Use of automatic water sensors to conserve water
- Encouraging video conferences and less travel to reduce carbon footprint
Limiting Paper Use
Much of the work that was paper-based in the business world has gone digital. For the work that still requires paper, Sidley has taken significant measures to both recycle and reduce the volume of paper we consume, and procure printing goods and services responsibly. We use 30 percent post-consumer-waste paper for printing, colored paper and tab stock. We have installed duplex printing software on all network printers. Most new printing equipment is ENERGY STAR® rated.
Sidley is dedicated to supporting environmental and green initiatives in the communities in which we live and work. Recent projects include advising:
- Potomac Riverkeeper Network, a nonprofit dedicated to clean water access and protecting the Potomac River and surrounding waters. Lawyers at the firm are working to stop pollution, promote safe drinking water, protect healthy river habitats and enhance public use and enjoyment. This work has encompassed: representing Potomac Riverkeeper in seeking remediation of contaminated properties on the shore of the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA; advising on a potential Clean Water Act enforcement case involving a publicly owned wastewater treatment plant violating a permit for discharge to the Potomac River; and representing Potomac Riverkeeper in a challenge to environmental permits for a shale mine in West Virginia.
- Building Bridges Across the River, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing social, health, environmental and economic disparities that exist in Washington, D.C. The firm’s lawyers have provided legal assistance in compiling a draft Memorandum of Agreement to share with city agencies for review regarding: the relationship between the client and the district government and the roles and responsibilities covering the Bridge Park’s future operations and maintenance.
Impacting the World Around Us
Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program
Sidley’s Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program aims to benefit poor, rural and disadvantaged communities, particularly women, by supporting local businesses that provide enhanced employment and livelihood opportunities. Through this initiative, we have advised organizations around the world on matters related to sustainability. Recent projects include advising:
- Vita, an Irish NGO working with communities in Africa to fight hunger and climate change. Sidley’s lawyers provided pro bono legal advice on the formation of the Vita Green Impact Fund, an innovative fund that allows investors the opportunity for a modest return while facilitating strong social impact.
- Water Access Rwanda, a social-led company that provides simple, affordable and durable water solutions in East Africa through sustainable technologies. The firm’s lawyers provide advice in a number of areas, including on establishing employee benefit options for staff and on drafting an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP).
- Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), which delivers solar solutions to villages throughout the developing world. SELF projects help boost food production, deliver clean water, power medical facilities and facilitate modern education. Among the organization’s collaborations with Sidley is the development of a contract for a partnership between SELF and a Haitian vocational school to develop the country’s first national solar training program. This program will provide a skilled workforce for Haiti’s new solar infrastructure initiative and help speed the delivery of solar electricity to the millions of Haitians living in energy poverty.
Through both our local efforts and those that touch people in regions around the world, Sidley is dedicated to making a positive impact on the planet. We aim to do all we can to ensure that our business endeavors are environmentally conscious and conducted with the welfare of the world’s community in mind.