Firm describes 'sustainability' as a business imperative

TORONTO, June 28, 2011 /CNW/ - Miller Thomson LLP is among the first of Canadian law firms to measure its carbon footprint against rigorous, internationally recognized ISO 14064 standards. The greenhouse gas emissions benchmarking program was completed recently in collaboration with Toronto-based Zerofootprint, an award-winning energy efficiency green-tech company based in Toronto.

The review included an analysis of sustainability practices within the firm's Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton offices, as well as a comparison of how Miller Thomson measures up against other mid- to large-sized Canadian law firms, banks and accounting firms. Miller Thomson ranked among the top three on the national peer list.

"Our view is that sustainability practices are a business imperative", said Gerald Courage, Chair of Miller Thomson. "Frankly, we would not have performed so well on a comparative basis had we not been actively working on these issues over the past three years. We are using these efforts to return measurable business value. We are seeking workplace efficiencies, cost savings, as well as preferred status in a growing number of competitive reviews by leading corporations seeking to clean their supply chains."

Miller Thomson established a National Environmental Sustainability Committee in 2008 to evaluate and improve sustainability practices within the firm. Since then, a number of environmentally focused initiatives have been implemented. These include:

  • Recycling initiatives for used office and computer equipment
  • Desk side, kitchen and battery recycling programs
  • Replacing all plastic bottles with reusable glass jugs and glassware
  • Reducing paper usage with the introduction of double-sided printing and encouraging electronic file sharing and faxing
  • Turning off electronic devices while not in use as a simple way to reduce power
  • Encouraging video conferencing as an alternative to travel
  • Working towards a new protocol to calculate greenhouse gas emissions based on airline travel across the firm

As part of their review, Zerofootprint also compiled a Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report to measure and benchmark the greenhouse gas impact of each office participating in the review. That report measured the environmental footprint of the three locations in accordance with standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, widely used international accounting tools for understanding, quantifying and managing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Benchmarking the greenhouse gas impact of each of the Miller Thomson offices we reviewed has been crucial to motivate meaningful change across the entire firm," said Sarah Hansen, Partner and Chair of the firm's National Environmental Sustainability Committee. "This benchmarking will allow us to measure our progress and implement sustainable policies and incentives that are effective and realistic."

Zerofootprint also produced a Best Practices Report for Miller Thomson to streamline green efforts across the firm.

"Miller Thompson is leading the way in environmental benchmarking," said Ron Dembo, founder and CEO of Zerofootprint.  "They recognize that energy efficiency is our greatest untapped energy resource.  Simple behavioural intervention, such as providing people with direct feedback on their consumption, and then gently nudging them to change their habits, can significantly reduce energy demand.  The problems of climate change need to be tackled comprehensively.  Miller Thomson has proven it's possible for a business to save money and address the world's greatest challenge."

About Miller Thomson
Miller Thomson LLP is a national business law firm with more than 470 lawyers working from 11 offices across Canada. The firm offers a complete range of business law, advocacy and personal legal services. Miller Thomson works regularly with in-house legal departments and external counsel world-wide to facilitate cross-border and multinational transactions and business needs. Miller Thomson offices are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Toronto, Markham and Montréal.

About Zerofootprint
Zerofootprint is an award-winning energy efficiency green-tech company.  We measure energy and greenhouse gas emissions across homes, schools, buildings, and organizations.  Our revolutionary benchmarking software tools enable millions of people to better understand their energy use, reduce their environmental footprint, and save money on their energy bills. Our online measurement and feedback tools are scientifically accurate, practical, quick, large-scale, cost-effective, and user-friendly.  The result:  we help individuals and organizations visualize their environmental footprint, and enable them to measure, compare, and change the way they consume energy.

SOURCE Miller Thomson LLP

For further information:

Alex Mangiola
Pilot PMR
416-462-0199 ext. 21

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