The partners of James & Wells Intellectual Property, three-time winner of the Intellectual Property Law Award, view sustainability as conducting the business in a way that maintains long term profitability, creates only positive impacts on staff and our communities, and minimises any negative impact we may have on our environment.Here they outline a new initiative and recap where they have gotten to on the sustainability journey
Our firm will donate to Sustainable Coastlines five percent of professional fees received from our sustainability clients (i.e. those from SBN,SBC or CEMARS) to Sustainable Coastlines.
This is intended to raise awareness of sustainability and encourage other businesses to engage with the sustainability organisations we have found so useful.
We launched this initiative by hosting a function at Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World in mid 2012, which was attended by our clients and business associates. There we announced our CEMARS certification, our Sustainable Coastlines sponsorship, and our sustainable business marketing initiative, while serving sustainable products and beverages. We also held a charity auction from products and services donated by clients, kickstarting our first donation of nearly $3000 to Sustainable Coastlines. These funds will go towards delivering educational presentations and practical clean-up activities to thousands of school students in Auckland this year.
Becoming a more sustainable business supports our vision of being the most sought after IPfirm in New Zealand. We feel being more sustainable will cause more people to seek us out, both in terms of new clients and new employees. We achieved CEMARS certification in 2011, being the first IP law firm in the world to do so, and are currently working towards having our first completed year assessed against our carbon emissions reduction plan
In 2011 we introduced a sustainable business plan, and in 2012 a sustainability policy. Part of our plan involved becoming CEMARS certified. We have also embarked on a community initiative supporting Sustainable Coastlines, and created a marketing offering that we hope will encourage others to join sustainable business networks.
We achieved CEMARS certification in 2011, being the first IP law firm in the world to do so, and are currently working towards having our first completed year assessed against our carbon emissions reduction plan.
CEMARS (the Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme) is a key certification offered by carboNZeroCertTMHoldings Limited. To achieve this we measured our greenhouse gas emissions and made a commitment to reduce those emissions by five per cent a year for the first three years. Key components of our current carbon footprint are related to travel and energy use (electricity and vehicle fuel) and, already, we have encouraged better use of video conferencing facilities to reduce domestic travel. In addition, our Christchurch office has become paperless and is pioneering a path for other offices to eventually follow.
Sustainable Business Committee
Driving our sustainability journey is our Sustainable Business Committee, responsible for managing and implementing all our sustainable business initiatives. It comprises staff from our three largest offices, at all levels of the organisation, from partner to secretary, including our Marketing and HR Managers.
Feedback received from the Sustainable Business Network's (SBN's) Get Sustainable Challenge, which we entered in 2011 and 2012, provides us with useful measurements of our environmental and sustainability measures to further improve and refine our environmental efforts.
Sustainable Coastlines Sponsorship
"We are delighted to partner with James & Wells, who have already shown great commitment in looking after the coastline in challenging conditions. Their teamwork and passion for the cause has already been an inspiration."
Sam Judd, Co-founder and events director, Sustainable Coastlines
In 2012 we became a silver member of Sustainable Coastlines. Our staff and their families now participate in regular beach clean ups. We have also launched an ongoing commitment to donate five percent of our professional fees received from our sustainability clients (ie members of either the Sustainable Business Council (SBC) or the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), or CEMARS or carboNZero certified organisations) to Sustainable Coastlines.
Our commitment to Sustainable Coastlines has seen over 40 JAWS staff pick up a mountain of rubbish on Milford and Ruapuke beaches. In total nearly 9000 pieces (156 kg) of rubbish including tyres, vehicle parts, rope, food wrappers and cigarette butts were picked up by our staff. Our third beach clean up on Long Beach National Park is our firm's key 2012 AGM sustainability activity with over 40 staff participating nationwide.
This initiative also means our employees feel proud to work with a responsible, community -focused company and see us as an employer of choice.
World Environment Day
To mark World Environment day, we have declared 5 June as 'car free day' at our four offices around the country for the last two years. About 90 per cent of our staff drive to work, and the objective of the car free day is to get everyone in the firm thinking about ways they can take individual and collective action to achieve our sustainability goals.
Staff vie for individual achievement awards: best public transport use, best bicycle use and best walking/running effort.
Between them, our staff over the last two years have saved more than 730 km of travel - about 150kg of greenhouse gas emissions and significant petrol costs. For more details read ourrecent press release.
Our Sustainability Voice
James & Wells Intellectual Property attorneys are regular writers of articles exploring sustainability and IP issues. These articles are published on our website and in the leading sustainability business magazine Celsias Weekly with some of these articles published in Element.
You can view our sustainability articles including "When is it okay to say you are green"? on our website.
Our Sustainability Commitment & IP Service
James & Wells takes sustainability very seriously. Our sustainability practice was devised and approved at partner level in the organization and is now integrated through all areas of the business, with all staff being involved and aware of our sustainable focus.
We have implemented a sustainable business plan, and in mid 2012 approved and implemented a new Sustainability Policy which contains guidelines to staff on the following areas which will help us become more sustainable - Procurement, Energy, Travel, Waste, and Equal Employment Opportunities.
Clean technology is undergoing rapid development on a global scale, and New Zealand has some leading expertise in this industry. Likewise consumers and businesses are increasingly demanding sustainable products and services. These are areas we are passionate about as an organisation, and we hope to be able to attract like-minded businesses as clients and assist cleantech development with our expert IP advice and services, therefore benefitting the New Zealand economy as a whole.
Talk to us today about your ideas, designs or innovations for our expert advice - together we can make a difference.
For further information or expert IP advice and services contact Jonathan Lucas , Senior Associate. Jonathan is a member of, and leads the firm's Sustainability Business Committee.firstname.lastname@example.org