Social impact can be defined as solving significant challenges in our society.
The United Nations (UN) has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that individuals, businesses and countries can use to work towards a better future including innovation, quality education, reduced inequality, justice, climate action and many more. Technological innovation is just one way in which we can achieve global sustainability objectives and a better quality of life for all.
Below we look at current market trends, the link between the legal industry and climate change, and how Legislate can help both reduce the carbon footprint and eliminate unfairness in the contracting process.
Current market trends
Taking action against climate change has become a global priority. Climate change refers to the gradual and long-term alterations to weather patterns and temperatures. According to the UN, since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change. The effects of climate change are becoming more pervasive and detrimental, affecting not only the environment, but also the local communities affected by climate events (which can include droughts, fires, flooding, storms and a decline in local - and global - biodiversity).
As the threat of climate change grows, so too does the drive to reduce the world's carbon footprint. Governments, global institutions and household name companies are now increasingly keen to be perceived as environmentally-friendly and as entities at the forefront of the fight against global warming.
Multinational corporations have been under intense scrutiny since the environment assumed a status of importance on the world's agenda. Companies who contribute heavily to climate change can no longer expect to do so with impunity and without risking significant reputational damage.
The legal industry and climate change
The legal industry has started to take notice of these issues, and is unsurprisingly itself a significant contributor to climate change. International law firms tend to have large carbon footprints. In particular, lawyers at these firms generate 5 to 10 times the amount of pages of paper per year than a typical office worker. Many of these papers are contracts, drafts and other legal documents that are often filed away in bulk. Paper (and its production) is a particularly big polluter.
A UNESCO study concluded that the water footprint of printing paper is estimated to be 2 to 13 litres, and its production also contributes to deforestation, waste and water and air pollution.
Legislate is a contract management platform that uses AI to create, sign, manage and store contracts. While a direct link between contract management and social impact may be hard to distinguish, read more to find out how Legislate can help with social impact.
How Legislate is reducing the carbon footprint of the legal industry
While other companies begin to develop action plans to help them go green, Legislate is already reducing the carbon footprint of the legal industry.
Legislate allows users to create digital contracts. The digitalisation of contracts reduces the need for:
- Physical archives
- Storage space for documents
- Business travel
Contracts created on Legislate's platform are signed, negotiated, amended and managed on the platform, so there is no need for each party to print out and retain its own copy of the contract. Users who create contracts in bulk will also no longer have to file them physically or print out and distribute multiple copies for signature.
Once signed, the contract will be stored directly on Legislate's secure platform and can be downloaded electronically if needed.
The ability to negotiate a contract on a digital platform means that Legislate's users no longer have to physically travel to meetings to engage in the negotiation process. This reduces their carbon emissions.
Legislate also displays key contract metrics online, meaning that users no longer have to create additional paperwork to store and try to manually track the key data in their contracts.
Any stage of the contracting process that can be done on paper can be done digitally on Legislate. Switching to Legislate means that your legal operations will instantly become paperless.
How Legislate eliminates unfairness in the contracting process
It is often the case that contracts are signed by two different parties, for example, between employers and employees (or interns). This process may run the risk of one-sidedness in terms of negotiation power and comprehension of technical terms. Some employers deemed to have more power than do employees, may seek to exploit this by inserting unfair clauses into their contracts, knowing that their prospective employees, interns do not have the necessary bargaining power with which to successfully negotiate or amend these clauses.
Employers might also not provide an employment contract which creates more uncertainty for the employee. Legislate eliminates this unfairness by providing all parties with access to clear, transparent, and lawyer-approved contracts.
Clear explanatory notes
Each contract available on Legislate’s platform is accompanied by important explanatory notes. For example, the key clauses of each contract are explained in plain language, meaning that all users and signatories will have a clear understanding of what they are agreeing to in signing a contract. This facilitates the negotiation process.
Legislate also provides users with a useful glossary of common legal concepts and terms. While Legislate is not a substitute for legal advice and does not purport to provide any users with legal advice, its platform and website improve users’ comprehension of key contractual terms, leading to fairer contracting processes.
Legislate’s mission to make contracts accessible means that contracts created on the platform are transparent. The platform’s lawyer-approved contract templates make it difficult for employers to insert unfair terms into their contracts. Legislate allows for the creation of employment contracts whose terms are plainly explained, meaning that the employees who sign them are able to appreciate the effect of their agreements, as well as each party’s obligations.
The transparency of Legislate’s contracts also means that each party to a contract is more likely to understand and carry out its respective obligations. The obligations set out in more onerous clauses will be succinctly displayed to each signatory in a visual format on the platform.
Restrictions (including post-contract restrictions) under a contract are also displayed to the parties. For example, an employee who has signed a non-disclosure agreement with their employer will be able to access the agreement’s key metrics and quickly identify how long post-termination restrictions are in effect, without having to go back to scrutinise the agreement.
It is important for an organisation’s contracts to contain the necessary clauses to protect its business interests. This may be difficult to achieve for a small business on a limited legal budget that is contracting with a larger company with an in-house legal team. Without the benefit of legal guidance or expertise, this small business may unwittingly make costly mistakes in failing to understand (and thus negotiate) their agreements and in deferring to the perceived better legal judgement of the other party to the contract, which may have received legal advice. Legislate’s contract templates are all reviewed for fairness by legal professionals, and their terms are equally favourable to all parties.
Using Legislate ensures that any party to a contract will not be unnecessarily exploited due to unequal bargaining power or lack of legal knowledge.
Legislate is a contract management platform that empowers businesses to take control of their legal agreements. Our platform allows you to create bespoke contracts tailored to your specific needs, all without breaking the bank. With Legislate, you can also sign, and manage contracts electronically, making the process more efficient and allowing you to make informed decisions faster. Book a demo or sign up today to put the confidence back into contracting.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.