Isobel Annan and Meryon Roderick - lawyers in Burges Salmon's Projects Team - have participated in the recent Energy drafting event organised by The Chancery Lane Project (TCLP), which took place from 21 May to 1 July 2021.  During the three-session event, Isobel and Meryon committed pro bono time to support the generation of innovative contract clauses that will help the energy sector to tackle the climate crisis and achieve net zero.

TCLP provides a collaborative forum for lawyers to devise practical legal solutions that will aid the transition to a net zero carbon economy and society.  The initiative has swept through the legal profession with impressive momentum since its formation in 2019, signalling a growing recognition of the important role of the law (and lawyers) in tackling climate issues.

During the drafting event series, Isobel and Meryon participated in the brainstorming, drafting and peer review of draft clauses on the theme of ‘Renewables’, and assisted with the drafting of two clauses which seek to promote the uptake of renewable energy and reduce emissions by encouraging practical solutions. One clause requires suppliers and contractors to consider green energy solutions whenever they run an energy procurement exercise and the other promotes supply chain transparency to tackle emissions, pollution and forced labour in the manufacturing of some renewable energy assets.  The event series also considered the themes of Traditional Fuels, Transitional Fuels and Innovation: Fuels of the Future. 

The output will be published on the TCLP website and in the ‘Net Zero Toolkit’, as a freely accessible online resource, in advance of COP26 (the meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place in Glasgow in November 2021) .

Beyond the involvement by our Projects Team, colleagues in Burges Salmon's Real Estate Team took part in the drafting and peer review of draft clauses on the theme of ‘Agriculture & Land Use’, and contributed to the development of a clause which encourages the incorporation of circular economy principles into repair and alteration clauses in leases or agreements for lease.  In addition, the firm's Construction Team hosted their own internal mini drafting event to introduce lawyers to TCLP whilethe Environment Team drew on their specialist expertise to help with peer review of clauses generated during various recent drafting events.

As a firm, we are committed to both reducing our own carbon-reliance and helping the wider business community to transition.  This partnership with TCLP follows our Net Zero Cross-Sector Initiative, our public commitment to being net zero by 2026, and our recent co-launch of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, amongst our other commitments to environmental responsibility.

(This article was written by Isobel Annan, Meryon Roderick, Gabi Gershuny and Tabitha Gould)