German member firm Schalast has appointed Banking & Finance Senior Associate Lisa Duwald as its first SDG Officer. Effective August 1, 2021, the attorney will be responsible for promoting and overseeing the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals at Schalast. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs") are an essential part of a global plan to promote sustainable peace and prosperity and protect our planet.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schalast, Founder and Managing Partner, explains: "As a firm, we want to contribute to positive social change. For us, the SDGs are not an abstract utopia. We identify with them; they guide very concrete and influential decisions in our day-to-day work as lawyers. That's why we are clearly committed to them and have created appropriate compliance structures in the firm."
For example, uniform and binding compliance requirements have already been introduced across all locations and hierarchical groups in line with the sustainability goals. Particular focus is placed on Health/Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Innovation, Industry and Infrastructure.
These seven goals have special significance in the office structures - e.g., through university cooperation and corresponding further training opportunities for employees - as well as for the selection and design of mandate work. The recent addition of energy law experts Janka Schwaibold (Partner) and Viktoria Boss (Counsel) to the Hamburg office can be considered exemplary in this respect. In addition, the firm is certified as a climate-neutral law firm and is part of the Climate Neutral Now initiative. However, a clear commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals is the introduction of the new role "SDG Officer / SDG Representative."
The new SDG Officer Duwald emphasizes, "I am looking forward to my new position, after all it is - as far as I know, for the first time ever in a German law firm – a new role. I have always appreciated Schalast because social values are more important here than simple profit maximization. The fact that I can now even actively support sustainability goals in my work confirms my perception and makes me proud of our law firm."
Prof. Dr. Andreas Walter, LL.M. is Partner (Deputy Managing Partner) and Head of the Banking & Finance Practice Group, adds: "I am thrilled to see how passionate our young lawyers are about sustainability. The conviction that we as lawyers can and want to support the UN goals in two ways at once – through our expertise and our mediating advisory function – unites us as a law firm. Even more: our clients appreciate and recommend us quite consciously because of this attitude."
As a law firm, Schalast wants to contribute to the topic of sustainability. Therefore, the law firm has derived binding standards and requirements for action from the SDGs for all employees - regardless of their function and hierarchical level. This includes, in particular, the active inclusion of the SDGs in client work. The function as an intermediary is to be used to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs: by providing legal advice, the firm's lawyers can both spread the cause of the Sustainable Development Goals and work towards the implementation of the goals in corporate structures and cultures.
Further information can be found here