It's not easy being green: Green initiatives in AmLaw 100 Law Firms

I just read about a recent Harris Poll of nearly 2,400 adults in which the results showed that Americans are less likely than they were in the summer of 2009 to be "green" and engage in various environmentally-friendly activities.

A comparison between the 2010 and 2009 surveys reveals that fewer Americans are now "going green." For example, they are doing less now than in 2009 to:

  • Use less water
  • Purchase locally grown produce
  • Purchase locally manufactured products
  • Purchase organic products
  • Compost food and organic waste

They are also less likely to buy energy efficient appliances, buy a hybrid car or switch from bottled to tap water.  The study says, "Not only are fewer Americans behaving in environmentally-friendly ways, but many are now also less likely to embrace, or be influenced by, "green" attitudes. 36% say they are concerned about the planet they are leaving behind for future generations, compared to 43% who said so in 2009. And, only 28% of adults say environmental issues are very or extremely important to them when deciding how to vote for political candidates, compared to 36% who said this was important to them in 2009."

What does this have to do with AmLaw 100 law firms?  In the "2010 AmLaw 100 Websites:  Ten Foundational Best Practices" research we conducted in August/September 2010, we introduced a Foundational Best Practice for the first time:  Firm Citizenship.  The attributes of this FBP are:

  • Site has a statement of core values
  • Site illustrates firm's commitment to sustainability
  • Site illustrates the firm's commitment to diversity
  • Charitable and civic commitment is described and evident
  • Pro bono commitment is described in detail, highlighting specfic stories and matters.

We can't say that the AmLaw 100 firms cared less about green initatives in 2010 than they did in 2009, because we didn't analyze the AmLaw 100 websites in 2009.  But only 26.6% of the AmLaw 100 firms discussed their sustainability programs on their websites in 2010. 

Read more on the Law Firm 4.0 Blog.