Earth Day has been marked every year since 1970 to honour the Earth and demonstrate support for environmental protection.  The first Earth Day remains the largest single-day protest in human history, and the landmark Paris Agreement was signed on Earth Day 2016.  It is a day for reflection on what we can and should be doing for the environment. 

At the moment much of the news about climate change and our human impact on the environment is difficult to stomach.  Earlier this year Ella Kissi-Debrah, who died aged just 9 in 2013, became the first person in the UK to have air pollution named as a cause of her death.  And global economies are poised to pour stimulus monies into fossil fuels in 2021 as part of their post-Covid recovery plans, despite the devastating effects that this will have on future generations.  There is so much bad news that it can be difficult to see the good news. 

But there is good news – or at least there are promising signs.  As you read this, China’s leader Xi Jinping will be attending US President Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit – promising because it marks both China’s engagement in the global efforts to stem climate change and the USA’s re-entry into the Paris Agreement. 

Why am I telling you this?  Climate change and its impacts pervade – or will come to pervade – everything we do as individuals, and has an influence on the work we do here at ACS.  We seek to improve lives, community and society, which means we must be part of the solution to catastrophic climate change and must support our clients in doing the same. 

Climate change is at the forefront of many of our clients’ minds, from local authorities and RPs working on decarbonisation schemes at a national level through to environmental charities focussed on individual communities.  We want to talk more about the environmental work that we do and to identify how to do more of it – including how to engage with clients who might still be thinking “what does this have to do with me?”.  We work in a range of environmental spaces, from energy-related projects like district heating networks and electric vehicle charging points through waste and recycling contracts to nature and wildlife conservation.  We contribute actively to the Chancery Lane Project’s Climate Playbooks, which are suites of precedent material that cover a multitude of different transactions, contracts and other scenarios, even draft legislation.  My hope is that you will hear much more in the next financial year about our environmental work and the ways we can support our clients in their own environmental goals.

As I reflect on this Earth Day 2021, and while there is much that concerns me at a global level, I feel energised by what we can do to help, and positive that while the problem is a global one, we can, together, succeed in playing our part.