We use the law to shift the balance in favour of the public good. This approach is innovative, bold and a game-changer in the global fight to protect the environment.
We take governments to court – and win. We force polluting industries to shut down. We protect irreplaceable forests and vulnerable species. We empower people and NGOs with the legal rights to bring forward environmental battles of their own. Using the law means that we create real, long-lasting and embedded change.
The power of the law
Law captures a society’s values. The rules we agree to live by have enormous power when strategically deployed.
Law when used well has the power to create a level playing field between the interests of governments and companies on the one hand, and people and the living world on the other.
At ClientEarth, we serve the needs of the people. The people need clean air and water and a future in which their children can thrive. We use the power of law to deliver a healthy environment and to stop dangerous climate change.
We use the power of law to protect people and the planet
We believe that society’s relationship with the natural world can and must be changed, and that law is an appropriate and effective tool to do so. In delivering our mission, we value:
Agility. The freedom, nimbleness and drive to seize strategic opportunities.
Boldness. The audacity, passion and conviction to challenge the status quo and take risks.
Creativity. The ability to innovate, learn and collaborate to find solutions.
The lifecycle of the law
We work at every stage of the law. We build the rule of law by helping to write good laws and by enforcing them.
It starts with the science
Environmental law starts with the science. Nature speaks to us in the grammar of science. Whether it is climate change, fisheries, forests, pesticides, or anything else we work on, we need to know what the best science is saying. And we need to keep paying attention, as science pushes on and learns more.
Next is policy
We work to capture what the science says in policy which also takes into account the economics, politics and culture of the country or continent we are working in.
Third is legislation
We help write laws that turn the policy into enforceable rules. We are alert to making rules that the regulated communities and industries can understand and agree to be bound by. We make sure there are clear requirements on timelines, with provisions that allow citizens to go to court, should the law be violated.
Fourth is implementation
When we started, European environmental groups paid little attention to how laws are implemented. Not so industry, who understand that how a law is implemented is as important as the words in the statute book. We work to make sure key laws are properly implemented by the government bodies charged with making them work.
Finally comes enforcement
Not much citizen enforcement was done in Europe before ClientEarth started. We are working to build a culture of compliance with environmental law. For the rule of law to work, there needs to be compliance, and actors need to understand they will be held to account if they break the law.
Protecting the future
Humanity has a series of choices to make that will lead to a welcoming future world or a bleak one. The law, if deployed with a comprehensive understanding of the science, informed by economics and alert to politics, can help meet the needs of the people. That is what we will offer to all those willing to work with us, on behalf of those now living and all future generations.
To find out more visit www.clientearth.org