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How can the legal sector drive sustainability?

The rule of law is central to stable society, and driving global sustainability

The reach and influence of multinational law firms like Freshfields provides them with an opportunity – indeed, a responsibility – to play an important role in facilitating sustainability.

Whether it’s upholding justice wherever it is needed, or deploying their resources to reverse the catastrophic effects of deforestation, Freshfields is committed to ensuring it plays its part in securing a fairer, more sustainable world.

Freshfields is firm in its belief that private business can become sustainable, and can do so by analysing its operations and contributions to achieve a net positive impact on society and the environment.

The rule of law is one of the central pillars of any society, and as such those who work in the legal sector interact with some of the most pressing challenges those societies face. Human trafficking is one such issue, devastating lives across the world and often cutting its victims adrift from any form of help.

Freshfields has been working to assist those victims by bringing civil claims against those who have exploited them. Kevin Whibley, a Senior Associate at the firm, emphasised the importance of pro bono work in this area.

“Many people who have been victims of human trafficking already have judgements in their favour,” he explained. “But that victory isn’t worth much if they can’t enforce it. There is some legal work that people just can’t pay for. If no one does it on a pro bono basis, then sometimes the whole legal system and society are impoverished, because there is a piece of justice that doesn’t happen.”

Continuing their mission to contribute positively to society and the environment, Freshfields looks further afield, with the REAP project in Kenya. Working in conjunction with local charities and community leaders, Freshfields is providing investment and education to farmers in carbon off-setting, re-planting trees and supporting the livelihoods of over 8000 farmers in the region.

REAP constitutes a ten-year investment in local communities towards the cause of making them more sustainable. It has resulted in the planting of over 2 million trees so far. The economic benefits of more efficient agriculture are also indicative that Freshfields’ belief holds true: doing good is good for business, society and the environment.

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