The aims of The Chancery Lane Project are inspirational.
Their vision is "a world where every contract and law enable solutions to climate change, … in which legal frameworks enable and encourage businesses and communities to have a positive impact on the environment."
Since The Chancery Lane Project was started in 2019, it has produced three editions of its Climate Contract Playbook adding new model clauses each time as well as a Glossary of definitions.
Lawyers from Addleshaw Goddard were involved in drafting many of the new clauses in the latest Playbook through team collaborations and online hackathons. Each clause has an Origin Story, which is a climate issue identified by the lawyers drafting it as the background and context to the legal solution.
The model clauses cover a range of practice areas and are all available to be included in contracts – the goal is that as they are used more these will change market norms and will embed sustainability at the heart of new contracts. Addleshaw Goddard have already updated their precedents for Share Purchase Agreements and Business Purchase Agreements to include warranties around how the target company / business assesses and mitigates climate change risks, and the steps it has taken towards achieving net zero emissions of greenhouse gases using model clauses from the latest Climate Contract Playbook.
There are only a few Real Estate specific clauses in the Playbook so far.
One new Real Estate Origin Story highlights the control that landlords of commercial leases have over tenants' alterations as a barrier to tenants carrying out work to their own premises or shared areas which has a positive environmental impact. The suggested model clause requires landlords to act reasonably in consenting to alterations which would have a positive environmental impact as a way of proactively promoting environmental improvements and reducing the impact of commercial buildings on the Environment. It would also allow alterations with a positive environmental impact to be left at the end of the lease. As well as improvements to buildings, practical benefits could also be the use of shared areas for recycling bins or bike racks and roofs of buildings being used for renewables or as green spaces – gardens and bee hives.
Other Real Estate model clauses in the Playbook include wording for residential long leases requiring tenants to operate their flats to the maximum energy efficiency and a right for tenants of short term residential tenancies to be given a rental rebate for buying renewable energy and reducing waste.
Another new innovative model clause is a protocol for litigation and arbitration allowing the parties to agree at the start of a dispute if and by how much they will reduce the carbon footprint of the process – reducing paper based documents, travel and even agreeing to use cycle couriers over vans for any deliveries of documents.