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Local Action

Our commitment to sustainable business operations is supported at the local office level through myriad programs and policies implemented to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.

Spotlight on Local Action

Law Firm Sustainability Network
Mayer Brown is a member of the Law Firm Sustainability Network, a nonprofit organization of law firms and legal departments committed to promoting the benefits of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility within their firms and throughout the legal industry.

International Regulatory Best Practices for Coral Reef Protection
Mayer Brown partnered with the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice to produce International Regulatory Best Practices for Coral Reef Protection. This best practices guide provides examples of effective regulatory tools for protecting coral reefs. These tools can be adapted to the circumstances of various jurisdictions in the Americas where reefs are at risk. It is not an exhaustive list of best practices, but rather a compilation of approaches that countries around the world have implemented to regulate human activities that harm coral reefs. This guide presents basic legal and regulatory tools and practices that can be modified, improved, strengthened, and applied according to the national objectives and unique circumstances of each country seeking to implement stronger protections for its coral reef resources. 

Spotlight on Local Action 

Mayer Brown relocated its New York office to 1221 Avenue of the Americas, one of the largest buildings in Manhattan to achieve LEED-EB certification, the designation by the US Green Building Council for existing buildings.

Spotlight on Local Action

Chicago Office Wins First Place and Gold-Level Business Award in the City of Chicago’s Green Office Challenge

Mayer Brown’s Chicago office, in the LEED Platinum-certified Hyatt Center, placed first in tenant energy reduction and won a gold-level business award as part of Chicago’s Green Office Challenge. The Challenge makes Chicago more sustainable by having buildings and tenants engage in friendly competition to reduce environmental impact. Green initiatives such as automatically powering down computers every evening and duplex printing contributed to this achievement and underscore Mayer Brown’s commitment to sustainability initiatives.

Spotlight on Local Action

London office objectives and targets

In 2014 we reduced our carbon footprint by focusing on our biggest areas of impact, such as waste management, business travel, and our use of resources such energy and consumables.

Our objectives for the year were:

  • Drive carbon efficiency improvements
  • Reduce consumption of key consumables and promote the use of environmentally responsible resources
  • Integrate sustainable waste management practices within the organization
  • Engage with internal stakeholders to ensure mutually beneficial environmental improvements 

Our targets were:

  • Reduce our carbon footprint by 1 percent.
  • Recycle 76 percent of our waste.
  • Work with our suppliers to identify more environmentally friendly options.
  • Promote firmwide engagement on environment awareness through information and instruction.


Spotlight on Local Action

Reduced Paper and Ink Consumption

Complementing our robust firmwide recycling programs, Mayer Brown has implemented a number of environmentally friendly paper and ink consumption initiatives, including replacing printer equipment with duplex-capable printers, and defaulting new equipment to duplex copying and printing. The Chicago office has realized a nearly 50 percent reduction in paper use since implementation.

Additional best practices include:

  • Printing brochures on Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) certified paper.
  • Using USB flash drives for external meetings and presentations.
  • Distributing our publications electronically to minimize the use of printing resources.
  • Investing in file management software to eliminate paper files.
  • Establishing an e-card holiday greeting card policy.
  • Using ink-saving fonts and setting printers to default to “draft quality” print options for internal documents.

Spotlight on Local Action

Reduced Air Travel and Auto Emissions

Whenever possible, Mayer Brown uses video conferencing for both internal and external meetings to reduce non-essential travel.  Additionally, our local offices have implemented the following initiatives:

  • Mayer Brown established a corporate agreement with Amtrak in 2009 for rail travel on the East Coast (NY to Washington, DC) to reduce air shuttle travel and the firm's overall carbon footprint. Amtrak rail uses 2,709 BTUs versus 3,264 BTUs on an airplane.  Amtrak is also the first railroad to join the Climate Registry, a nonprofit collaboration among North American states, provinces, territories and Native Sovereign Nations that sets consistent and transparent standards to calculate, verify and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions into a single registry.
  • Our US offices participate in a program that provides pre-tax benefits options to employees using public transportation for their commute. 
  • The Chicago office teamed up with Enterprise CarShare ( formerly I-GO) in 2011 to provide Mayer Brown employees with discounted I-GO membership and driving rates. 
  • The London office has changed its taxi operator from a diesel-fueled operator to electric motor vehicles.

Spotlight on Local Action

Sustainable Office Operations: London

The office building we occupy in London has a BREEAM “Excellent” rating, the top rating based on the world's most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. Escalators and taps use sensors to ensure they only activate when needed, and the lighting control system has automatic presence detection and perimeter dimming to match daylight levels. The “green roof” holds back the flood of rainwater into London’s sewer system, provides a habitat for wildlife, reduces solar gain and enhances insulation. The building comprises approximately 20 percent recycled materials, has a highly specified building façade, coupled with extensive heat recovery equipment, and features an efficient cooling plant to keep emissions to almost 50 percent below average.

London recycles 72 percent of all internally generated waste up from 60 percent a year ago. London is aiming to achieve 85 percent recycling.

Spotlight on Local Action

Our Chicago office achieved a Tier 1 ranking in the Chicago Green Office Challenge, the highest level possible in the Challenge.

The Green Office Challenge is a program designed to promote leadership in the environmental performance of downtown Chicago businesses.  The 2011 Challenge resulted in a reduction of more than 124 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, the elimination of more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and diverted approximately 43 percent of waste from landfills.

Participating tenants were evaluated through a “Green Office Scorecard” developed by International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (“ICLEI”), which included 50 green strategies related to five key office-related sectors: waste and recycling, energy, transportation, outreach and education, and property manager engagement.

Noteworthy achievements leading to our Tier 1 ranking include:

  • Participating in the process that led to the LEED Platinum certification of the Hyatt Center in which the Chicago office is located.  Highlights of the building include facilities with water conserving devices such as faucet aerators and motion sensors; office occupancy sensors in private offices, a lighting control system in the open areas, internal and external bike parking, the sole use of environmentally friendly cleaning products, and a comprehensive recycling program.
  • Conducting an energy audit resulting in the installation of energy efficient vending machines; more energy efficient light bulbs; and, where possible, ENERGY STAR-rated equipment and appliances such as copiers/multifunctional devices and kitchen appliances.
  • Reducing paper usage by tracking the use of copy paper on a monthly basis and implementing a pilot program to set new printers and new copiers to duplex printing—with a goal to reduce paper usage by 30 percent within the year.  Approximately 50 percent of our copier fleet has been updated with the goal to default all new equipment to duplex printing.
  • Replacing disposable cups, plates and utensils with ceramic mugs and utensils and plates that are made from recycled, decomposable material.  We also discontinued the use of plastic water bottles for internal and external meetings, and provide pitchers of filtered water in our 30+ conference rooms.
  • Implementing recycle programs for rechargeable and alkaline batteries and all technological waste, including computers, printers and any device containing an electronic board.
  • Providing our employees with commuter benefits such as discounted membership and driving rates for Enterprise CarShare (formerly I-GO), transit fares at a pre-tax rate through WageWorks; and discounted shower access for bike riders through the building’s fitness center.
  • Implementing a "Computer Shut Off" campaign, encouraging the practice of turning computers off upon departure from the office and working with our IT team to ensure faster start-up times from shut off mode.
  • Participating annually in Earth Hour, turning off all non-essential lighting in the building.
  • Sending regular communications with suggestions for sustainable living practices and local, national and global resources that promote and support such practices.
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