Taking Steps in a Greener Direction

How do you reduce your impact on the environment? It's a question that no doubt has been asked countless times by many people and organizations throughout the world. At Blakes, we take this question seriously.

First Steps – Creating a Sustainable Environment Policy

Every initiative needs an objective, and our goal is clear — a commitment to minimizing our environmental footprint. As a result, Blakes has adopted procedures and guidelines that will serve to lessen the impact of our day-to-day operations on the environment and contribute to its sustainability. To turn these efforts into habit, we encourage all members of the Firm to consider the environment at work as well as at home. We also continue to take concrete steps to use fewer natural resources, reduce the generation of waste materials and, overall, become a more environmentally responsible law firm. This is our commitment to a sustainable environment and world.

Moving Forward

We are committed to identifying opportunities to lessen our environmental footprint and to identify areas where improvement can be made. Here are some of the steps we have taken to increase firmwide environmental action and awareness:

What We've Done as a Firm

  • Support electronic filing of documents
  • Recycle and shred discarded paper
  • Have made available (throughout our business premises) recycling services and facilities for paper, packaging, containers, organic matter and electronic waste
  • Minimize the use of bottled water at Firm and client functions, as well as offering water in reusable containers
  • Do business with suppliers who are environmentally conscious (to the extent reasonably possible)
  • Support use of low-fuel consumption vehicles for Firm travel
  • Purchasing environmentally friendly supplies when possible and limiting packaging from our suppliers

Encouraging Individual Green Efforts

Making positive change requires all hands on deck. We promote environmentally friendly habits from our lawyers and staff, such as:

  • Printing double-sided to reduce paper and toner consumption
  • Printing with low resolution to incur additional savings in toner use
  • Turning off lights at the end of the day (where motion-sensing lighting is not available)
  • Shutting down computers before leaving the office

Making the Most of New Premises

As part of our Toronto office move, we were dedicated to maximizing the environmental benefits of our new space and to minimizing energy consumption for heating, cooling, lighting and electronic equipment. A few of the larger projects we undertook that work in favour of the environment included installing:      

  • State-of-the-art HVAC controls and elements to regulate the temperature and airflow
  • Clerestory glass around the entire perimeter of the floor that allows natural light to be filtered into the space
  • Motion-sensing lighting throughout our space and energy-efficient bulbs
  • Carpet tiles instead of rolled goods to allow for less waste and easy replacement
  • Energy-efficient hand dryers (use air pressure instead of heat) in each of our washrooms

Pro Bono Legal Services

As part of the Firm's pro bono legal services program, Blakes has assisted various environmental organizations. One of the most notable is Evergreen, a national charity that funds and facilitates local, sustainable greening projects. Evergreen is likely best known for the restoration and redevelopment of the old Toronto Brickworks site: http://ebw.evergreen.ca/.