Wendel Rosen's Green Certification

In July 2003, Wendel Rosen became the first law firm in the country (at least that we can find) to be awarded "green" status by a certifying agency (in this case the Bay Area Green Business Program), and joined the ranks of hundreds of Bay Area "green" businesses. In 2007, 2010 and 2014, the firm has renewed its certification to ensure that we continue to keep our goal of running a sustainable operation.

In order to get to certification, the firm hired a consultant to present an educational series on sustainable practices to all firm employees. We developed a Sustainability Team comprised of attorneys and staff. The team analyzed all of the firm's environmental impacts and made recommendations for areas of improvement. Some were undertaken immediately, and others will be phased in over time. A few of the changes we have implemented as a result of our internal sustainability efforts have yielded impressive results.

  • Moving to all "Energy Star" electronics.
  • Worked with building on waste separation and recycling programs
  • Give purchasing preferences to items with high recycled content
  • Converted many internal memos and reports to email versions
  • Set default copying procedure for double-sided wherever feasible
  • And more. . .

What about all the paper?
In an industry known for "papering clients to death," the firm switched to entirely 100 percent, post-consumer waste recycled paper, processed chlorine-free. For outsourced printing projects the firm uses soy-based inks. We've instituted two-sided copying as a default for most reports and copy jobs. The firm also encourages electronic transmission of documents, whenever possible.

Our transition to 100% post-consumer content chlorine-free recycled paper annually saves more than 250 trees, 40,000 pounds of greenhouse gases and 31,450 kilowatts of electricity each year!

By demonstrating reductions in paper, energy, water and waste; increases in recycling; and other measures to lessen environmental impacts; the firm prepared for a series of audits conducted by PG&E, East Bay Municipal Utility District, the City of Oakland and Alameda County. The Green Business Program gave us the stamp of approval, and we became official.

In addition, Wendel Rosen was selected by the California Integrated Waste Management Board for a case study on how medium-sized law firms can reduce waste.

We know there is still a long way to go, but the firm is excited to be taking these steps in the right direction. We continue to review our operations based on The Natural Step Sustainability Framework. Under the leadership of professional sustainability consultants and the participation of firm employees, we constantly look for ways to improve our operations, including energy conservation, waste reduction, and incentives for mass transit.

In the Community
Wendel Rosen attorneys are active in many community efforts to improve the environment and create sustainable economies. We promote "green" building and architecture, and we are leaders in local efforts to substantially expand the local agricultural economy to create a "greenbelt" around urban areas. In addition, our lawyers are active in many organizations and entities with influence over sustainable living issues.
We're affiliated with numerous "green" organizations, including:      

  • Bay Area Green Business Program
  • U.S. Green Building Counsel
  • 1% for the Planet
  • American Bar Association ABA-EPA Law Office Challenge
  • B Lab/B Corporation
  • Build it Green
  • Law Firm Sustainability Network
  • California Solar Energy Industry Association

Law Firm Sustainability Network
As a leading law firm in the area of sustainability, Wendel Rosen was an early member of the Law Firm Sustainability Network (LFSN). The LFSN’s mission is to develop key performance indicators, foster knowledge-sharing, develop best practice guidelines, and recognize and promote sustainability innovations in the U.S. legal sector. The firm was the first firm to earn Platinum status under the LFSN's American Legal Industry Sustainability Standard (ALISS) online self-assessments.

To learn more about LFSN and what law firms can do to lessen their environmental impact, visit

What's Next?
We want to share our story with law firms and other businesses that also have an interest in green business practices. If you would like to know more about our efforts, please contact


Looking for a Green Business Lawyer?
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