The international law firm CMS has been committed to sustainability for some time. It pursues a holistic approach to conduct business in the most environmentally friendly way possible as well as to provide more sustainable advice. The main pillars of this strategy are the areas of Sustainable Office and Sustainable Business. CMS sees sustainable cooperation, such as participation in the UN Global Compact Initiative and support for thought leadership projects such as "Glacier" as an important basis for its sustainable actions.
CMS in Austria has taken many forward-looking steps in the area of sustainability and climate protection over the past 12 months. For example, CMS Austria is the first law firm to receive an ÖKOPROFIT award from OekoBusiness Wien and, as a member of the global CMS Sustainability Committee, is setting several good examples.
"Our law firm has already significantly reduced its ecological footprint in many areas. With the head office in Vienna and ten other offices in CEE, it is also important to be aware of one's own responsibility here and not to just set individual emphases for more sustainability, but to tackle the issue holistically," says Döne Yalçın, the partner at CMS Vienna who midwifed the sustainability initiative at both national and global CMS level and is instrumental in driving forward environmental and climate protection measures.
Successful completion of the City of Vienna ÖKOPROFIT programme
CMS recently became the first law firm in Austria to be certified as an ÖKOPROFIT company by OekoBusiness Vienna. Companies participating in the programme must prove through an environmental report that appropriate improvements have been implemented and that new measures are already planned for the following years. With the Environmental Report 2020 now available and the ÖKOPROFIT award, CMS was certified, among other things, for improved waste management thanks to an extensive recycling programme, the use of sustainable and reusable raw materials, the increase in the share of organic and Fairtrade products and significant CO2 savings thanks to the “job ticket” (an annual public transport pass) for employees. The focal points and goals for 2021 and 2022 are the further reductions of energy consumption in office activities and in the area of indoor climate, a renewed reduction in office requirement and the amount of waste, the expansion of the use of video and telephone conferences to reduce our business travel carbon footprint after Corona, and the continued promotion of sustainable mobility within Vienna.
More details can be found in the ÖKOPROFIT Environmental Report, downloadable here.
CMS (advises) more sustainability
Sustainability is now of enormous importance in daily client work. Thus, CMS integrates sustainability as an advisory aspect in all specialist areas and sectors and Sustainable Champions within the CMS specialist and industry groups promote and further develop it. "Since the topic of sustainability is having an increasing impact on legislation and a flood of legislative changes can be expected in the next few years, new approaches are needed to prepare clients," says Döne Yalçın. Here, too, CMS is in a pioneering role: as part of last year's "Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Hackathon", CMS developed a Sustainability Law App that provides information on all legal innovations in the area of sustainability in all areas of law and is thus intended to provide corporate lawyers with significant support in contract reviews. With the project "Greener Token", the CMS Hotel & Leisure team has developed a proposal for sustainable hotel tourism.
Supporting one of Europe's largest climate protection initiatives
“Sustainability has become a must, legally as well as ethically. Our advice makes our clients fit for the future”, says CMS Vienna Partner Gregor Famira. "We use our contacts in the startup scene to this end and have been involved since last year as a founding member of Glacier - an Austrian startup that shows companies throughout Europe which solutions and measures can be used to reduce CO2 emissions." Andreas Tschas, formerly of Pioneers and now CEO and Co-Founder of Glacier, developed with his team a digital platform, at whose core is a science-based database with targeted CO2 reduction measures and innovative products. More information on Glacier can be found at glacier.eco.
CMS joins UN Global Compact network
"Sustainability and climate protection are not just at the top of the agenda for the time being at our law firm, but will be for many years to come - as our commitment to the UN Global Compact proves," says Döne Yalçın.
Assuming global responsibility can only be achieved through collective action. That is why the CMS Sustainability Committee, in which CMS Austria is a driving force, has decided to join the UN Global Compact network. The United Nations Global Compact is the world's largest and most important initiative for responsible corporate governance. For CMS, it is not only a matter of aligning its own strategies and activities with these sustainability goals, but also of making a public commitment on behalf of the entire CMS network that further efforts are needed in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption.