Sustainability at Beveridge & Diamond
As one of the nation’s leading environmental law firms, it is natural that Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. would take a leadership role in the field of sustainability for law office management. In its offices across the country, Beveridge & Diamond is translating its values into action, improving the Firm’s sustainability and reducing its environmental impacts.
Beveridge & Diamond’s commitment to the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge is one example of the Firm’s place at the forefront of these critical issues. Beveridge & Diamond became the first law firm in the country to commit to all three components of the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge for all of its offices nationwide. The Climate Challenge is an environmental sustainability program geared towards law offices, developed by the ABA and EPA. Two Beveridge & Diamond attorneys oversaw the design and implementation of the program via their leadership in the ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources.
Through its participation in the Climate Challenge, Beveridge & Diamond has committed to purchasing renewable energy in an amount equivalent to 100% of the Firm’s electricity usage nationwide, becoming one of the first law firms in the country to do so. In addition, Beveridge & Diamond has committed to reducing its paper usage, and reducing its environmental footprint by investing in energy-efficient lighting, appliances and office equipment. The Firm’s participation in the Challenge entails specific commitments to three separate programs:
- Best Practices for Office Paper Management and EPA’s WasteWise program, which promote waste minimization, recycling and the use of recycled paper; and
- Energy Star, which promotes energy efficiency and conservation.
In addition to its specific commitments under the Challenge, Beveridge & Diamond has undertaken a comprehensive review of the Firm’s sustainability policies. To lead this effort, the Firm established the Beveridge & Diamond Green Team, which consists of at least one representative from each of the Firm’s offices, and includes attorneys, managers and staff.
This process has produced numerous opportunities for us to improve our environmental sustainability policies, from major firm-wide initiatives to the everyday actions of individual attorneys and staff members. Below are some of the steps taken to date by Beveridge & Diamond to improve the Firm’s environmental sustainability:
- The Firm has entered into an agreement to purchase 1,875 mWh of renewable energy certificates (RECs) annually for wind-generated electricity. This purchase of low-carbon RECs reflects 100 percent of the firm’s nationwide energy usage, helps to encourage the development of the renewable energy sector, and will result in reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The Firm participates at the highest (“Leadership”) level in this EPA program (see Beveridge & Diamond's Partner Profile.) In all of its offices, the Firm is utilizing paper containing at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled content for all standard in-house printing and copying. Some offices are utilizing paper with 80-100 percent post-consumer recycled content. Firm personnel are regularly encouraged to properly separate recyclable products and make full use of available recycling, including not only paper but toner cartridges, cardboard, plastics and other materials where possible.
- The Firm has instituted a policy of double-sided copying and printing for drafts and internal documents with a goal of ensuring that at least half of all printing and copying in each office is double-sided.
- The Washington office is located in a building that has earned the Energy Star designation from EPA. EPA selects Energy Star buildings for their excellent energy performance, rewarding facilities that are energy efficient and have a smaller carbon footprint. In October 2010, the building achieved Silver LEED certification.
- The Baltimore office is located in one of the first buildings in downtown Baltimore to receive LEED Gold certification.
- By applying effective measures, the New York office (the only one of Beveridge & Diamond's offices that has its own, as opposed to building-wide, electricity meter) has reduced its electric usage by nearly 10% since implementing changes recommended by the Green Team.
- The Baltimore office successfully initiated a recycling program that is available for all tenants of its 27-floor office building by enlisting the support of building management, and researching and locating an appropriate vendor. Prior to Beveridge & Diamond’s efforts, recycling services were not available in the building. In August 2010, the office was registered with the Maryland Green Registry.
- The San Francisco office has achieved a 25% energy savings by replacing light fixtures and bulbs with more efficient alternatives.
- The Firm purchases computer equipment and appliances that are Energy Star compliant, meeting efficiency standards set by EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy. All of the Firm’s old computer equipment is donated for reuse or recycling.
- Consistent with Energy Star guidelines, the Firm’s computer monitors and hard drives are programmed to go into sleep mode after 30 minutes of inactivity, and printers and copiers go into sleep mode after one hour of inactivity. Computer equipment is shut down at the end of each business day.
- All Firm personnel are encouraged to minimize use of unnecessary lighting by shutting off lights in rooms not actively being used, and by unplugging cell phone, PDA and other chargers when not in use.
- Every year since 2010, the Firm has held a number of events in April to commemorate Earth Day.
- Beveridge & Diamond was a recipient of Bisnow's 2008 Green Leadership Award, recognizing the Firm for its efforts in promoting green consciousness and principles in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
GREEN ARTICLES BY OR INVOLVING BEVERIDGE & DIAMOND ATTORNEYS
"Firms Ditch Stacks of Paper for Digital Ease", NJBiz, July 2012
"Going Paperless Offers Benefits", NJBiz, July 2012
"The Sustainable Firm", The Environmental Forum, May 2012
“Find Resources for Developing Green Policies”, ABA Partner Newsletter, December 2009
“Ending the Paper Chase”, ABA Journal, January 2008
“How Green Is My Law Firm? ”, LMA White Paper, November 2008 (posted with permission granted by the Legal Marketing Association, Glenview, IL)
“Keen on Green”, New York Law Journal, October 2007