Lucy Greenwood, Greenwood Arbitration
The IBA Arb40 Subcommittee launched a competition to compile and publish poignant stories from this period, forming a distinctive compendium of shared experiences. Exploring the depths of the international arbitration community, the IBA Arb40 Common Heritage of International Arbitration Competition for the Most Meaningful Personal Stories unfolds a tapestry of diverse narratives.
Spanning the globe, these stories capture the human side of international arbitration, showcasing triumphs, challenges, and the interconnectedness that defines our professional journey. Each article in this collection offers a unique lens into our Common Heritage of International Arbitration, underscoring the significance of camaraderie, mentorship, and shared experiences within our global community.
The following article emerged victorious in the “Making History” category of the competition.
In October 2018, I chaired a large energy arbitration at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, Texas. The hearing lasted over two weeks and was expertly and robustly argued by counsel. Complex expert evidence was submitted. There were documents. Thousands of documents. Although, to our credit, the Tribunal had encouraged counsel to present documents electronically, we had been nervous about the technology failing and had agreed to a set of printed binders “just in case”. At the end of the hearing, when counsel, experts, clients and witnesses had faded away, I stood in the empty hearing room, looked at the wall of printed documents behind me and realised that not a single binder had been opened during the course of the hearing. Everything had been done on screen. I sighed and made my way to the airport. The documents, as per my instructions, were shredded.
I lived, very happily, in Texas from 2007 to 2017. During my time in Texas on a clear day I could see the refineries on the Gulf coast from my office. I could see nodding donkeys from the freeway. I drove 30 miles to work every day and filled up my minivan with gas at 3 bucks a gallon. All my clients were energy companies, all my work was hydrocarbon based. Although I saw my clients evolve and embrace environmental principles in their businesses, I didn’t really think much of it. Even though I was quite environmentally aware in my personal life, when it came to my professional life, the environment, in my mind, was someone else’s problem. By the time of this hearing, I had been back in England for just over a year but had been traveling between the US and the UK for work without a thought to the wider implications of my travel. It was in that empty hearing room that I realised I needed to change. Quite simply, arbitration practitioners were deeply out of touch. We had flight pride instead of flight shame, or in Swedish, Flygskam.
From that realisation the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations was born. I returned to England and wrote a post on my blog entitled “A Zero-Impact Arbitration? Let’s Talk” in which I agonised about how as an arbitration community we had talked a lot about how we might arbitrate climate change issues, but we had not spent the same amount of time talking about how we might address our contribution to global warming. In that blog I made a simple pledge: that I would seek to run my arbitrations in a more environmentally friendly way and that I would encourage Counsel appearing before me to do the same.
After four years, a global pandemic, and an enormous amount of hard work by an exceptional team of volunteers, that initial green pledge has evolved into a global campaign. The Campaign for Greener Arbitrations has conducted research into the carbon footprint of an international arbitration (spoiler: it is huge), produced six Green Protocols (guides to help arbitrators, institutions, conference providers, law firms and parties manage their practices more sustainably), developed a Green Model Procedural Order (which sets the framework for a greener arbitration), established eight regional committees spanning the globe, and finally made the international arbitration community wake up to our impact on the environment.
We have certainly started a conversation, but the Campaign is committed to ensuring that we see less talk and more action. The pandemic pushed us all into this century in terms of our use of technology; I am determined that as arbitration practitioners we maintain this progress. We cannot slip back into our “flight shame” ways.
When we talk about the devastation of Easter Island, we ask: why didn’t they look around, realize what they were doing, and stop before it was too late? But I ask, will arbitration practitioners still be proud of their travel schedules in years to come? And I worry, is the pandemic simply a blip and will we all revert to our former ways? The Campaign, thanks to the immense hard work of so many committed volunteers, is here to make sure we don’t. To borrow from President Obama, “we are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last generation to do something about it”. Please support the Campaign here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lucy Greenwood is an independent arbitrator specializing in commercial and investment disputes. She has practised international arbitration since 1998 (in London, Paris and Houston) and has acted as arbitrator in over 90 arbitrations since becoming a full time arbitrator in 2017. She is highly regarded for her prompt, efficient resolution of disputes and active case management of arbitrations and is particularly in demand as a chair for major energy disputes. Ranked Band 1 by Chambers and as a Global Elite Thought Leader by Who’s Who Arbitration, Lucy is a Chartered Arbitrator, a Texas attorney and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
This article was first published on the website of the Arbitration Committee of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association, and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association, London, UK. © International Bar Association.
Available at: https://www.ibanet.org/Arb40-Competition