Over 500 mediators from over 50 countries around the world, including many of Scotland’s most prominent mediators, have signed a pledge committing to ensure that they minimise the impact on the environment of every mediation they are involved in and to reduce the carbon emissions associated with their work. This is part of a broader initiative to help build a more sustainable approach to solving problems and resolving disputes everywhere.

Under the auspices of the World Mediators’ Alliance on Climate Change, the mediators who have signed the Pledge will seek to use online technology whenever appropriate, eliminate unnecessary travel and use the most environmentally friendly means of travelling when they do. They will offset carbon emissions, and endeavour to limit unnecessary use of physical resources such as hard copy documents, all in line with offering mediation as a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and speedy way to help those with disputes find constructive outcomes.

John Sturrock QC, founder and senior mediator at Core Solutions and recently named as a Global Elite Thought Leader in Mediation, is one of the promoters of the Pledge. He commented “As we heard at COP26, there is an urgent need to shift from rhetoric to action. Sometimes we feel there is little we can do in the face of global uncertainty. But each of us can do that little extra  – and mediators have much to offer in the development of low carbon solutions in the years ahead. We want to see the Mediators’ Green Pledge become a real movement for change. And, as we have found over the past year, mediation is well suited to online delivery in many situations. ”

Charlie Irvine, whose ground-breaking work in University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic has helped many clients to benefit from online mediation, observed: “Mediation is already one of the most environmentally sustainable ways of resolving disputes. It is quicker, less time-consuming and less resource-hungry than litigation or arbitration, and mediators have been particularly agile in using Zoom and similar platforms. Mediation has a significant role to play in moving towards a net zero carbon justice system.”

Rachael Bicknell, founder of Squaring Circles, added: “Mediators have pledged wherever possible to use electronic documents, environmentally friendly venues where face-to-face mediation is necessary, and to take steps to reduce the environmental impact of our own offices or workplaces. It’s all about making small changes towards achieving the collective goal of reducing our carbon footprint.”