An environmental network has been set up to support in-house lawyers take a lead in helping their organisations deliver on climate change commitments.

Lawyers for Net Zero comprises in-house counsel, legal professionals and entrepreneurs ‘who are united by our desire to keep a liveable planet for all’.

Executive director Adam Woodhall told the Gazette he has been focusing on how to generate climate action for 15 years. ‘What started becoming clear to me last year was that we needed to enable people to take significant climate action within their roles. It’s not just about taking a reusable cup to work but how, for instance, you influence suppliers.’

Anthony Kenny, assistant general counsel at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, is one of around 30 legal chiefs who have been piloting draft net zero action principles since April. The principles include championing net zero internally and externally, and learning and sharing key knowledge.

Kenny told the Gazette that, through the network, he became aware of The Chancery Lane Project, which creates practical contract clauses that deliver climate solutions. Clauses are peer reviewed and published for free for anyone to use in their legal work.

Kenny said: ‘With different organisations the legal teams will be different. You can be a sole lawyer doing everything… One of the great things about getting involved in the pilot is you can get a sense of level of comfort. It might just be the case of being an internal advocate or you want to become an expert and lead it. What we have seen from the pilot is there’s a real passion on this topic in the legal world. Lawyers for Net Zero provides a platform to explore that a little bit.’

In-house lawyers including Kenny will be discussing the pilot at a webinar tomorrow as part of London Action Climate Week 2021.