Under Construction - Q3 2021 – 4 / 5 观点
As the global community takes a more serious look at the effects of its environmental impact, the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations focusses specifically on what the arbitral community can do to reduce its carbon footprint and bring about more sustainable dispute practices.
The Campaign highlights that offsetting the carbon footprint of just one large-scale international arbitration could require the planting of up to 20,000 trees. It is easy to see why. In a construction arbitration, the project, the witnesses, the legal counsel, the tribunal and the arbitral body may each be located in different countries. At some stage they will be required to convene in one location for a hearing, often surrounded by mountains of papers. The flights and printing for a hearing alone will have a measurable environmental impact, but the proceedings may also require, for instance, traveling for site visits, and the couriering of papers and submissions around the globe.
The Campaign establishes what it refers to as its “Guiding Principles” to help those working in arbitration to reduce this environmental impact as follows:
In order to assist arbitral practitioners in achieving these outcomes, in early 2021 the Campaign published a series of “Green Protocols” with practical guidance and clear instructions to help users reduce their emissions and carbon footprint, which are tied together by a framework for adoption. The Green Protocols comprise a series of distinct set of considerations applicable to each of the main actors in arbitral proceedings, namely:
The Green Protocols also include the Model Green Procedural Order which tribunals can adopt in order to ensure the implementation of sustainability measures from the inception of a matter right through to its conclusion. The Campaign also asks arbitral professionals to sign the “Green Pledge” to indicate their commitment to the cause.
Modern arbitral practice has been developed over multiple generations. Proposing such a fundamental shift in the conducting of arbitrations away from hearings in person and avoiding the printing and couriering of reems of paper therefore requires a significant change in mindset.
In this connection, the COVID-19 pandemic has assisted in the “greening” of arbitration hearings to some extent out of necessity:
The moving of the profession towards greener hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic may be an unintended, pleasant side effect. However, the combined effect of cost savings, reduced enforcement risk and the reduction in environmental impact will hopefully encourage parties to continue embracing these solutions post-pandemic.
Naturally there will not be a one size fits all policy. In those cases, the Green Protocols can still assist parties in finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of their proceedings, such as by adopting electronic communications instead of letters, avoiding printing of pleadings/submissions in favour of electronic filing, working with providers who adopt environmentally friendly practices, powering your organisation through cleaner forms of energy, and engaging in carbon offsetting.
If you would like to know more about the effect of COVID-19 on construction disputes or more about the growing use of virtual hearings, you can read two further articles on the topic below:
作者 Rebecca May