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The whole greenwashing epidemic has somewhat subsided as the consumer public has gotten a bit more savvy at spotting the bogus claims of a company being green. Even the government stepped in, years ago now, to help combat false and misleading claims of being green.
For law firms, going green can often be prompted by more than just potential cost savings on paper, despite the high cost of the technology needed to go paperless without it feeling too different. However, unless a firm's going green translates into direct savings for clients, logic dictates that an individual or small business client isn't going to care about a firm's carbon footprint.
Whether or not clients care, going green has never been easier. Thanks to the last decade making green construction trendy and highly desirable, it's readily available now. Going green can be as simple as moving into a new office that has all the new-fangled green technologies.
If you don't think clients will pay more for your office to go green, or cover the increase in rent on a new green office, then you may want to consider whether the cost savings are worth it financially and for your firm's culture.
Frequently though, when it comes to being a more green business, lawyers and small law firms don't think much further beyond going paperless (and if you haven't even thought about it, you might want to). However, there are quite a few different ways firms can become greener while still saving money.
Law firms that overuse electricity are flushing money down the drain. Installing energy efficient lights, insisting on computers not in use being turned off, optimizing an office's use of natural light, and updating the heating and cooling systems, can save quite a bit of money, depending on the size of an office. There may be an upfront cost to some of these updates, but if you crunch the numbers, it'll likely be more economical to make the changes.
If saving money is less important than touting those green policies, even small firms can help the environment by providing incentives to employees who opt to use public transportation or get an environmentally friendly car. And for the firms that provide employees with vehicles: many luxury, lawyer-worthy, vehicles now have options for hybrid and even all-electric drive trains.
Also, firms can encourage employees to volunteer for certain causes and provide paid volunteer time, or even organize team volunteering, which can be great for team building, or even public visibility (if you really want to milk that green reputation).
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