Saving the Planet at the House of Lords

Working together to make meaningful positive change for a better future

4 minute read
One of Ordnance Survey’s in-house lawyers Laura Sparmann reflects on how her role is supporting the development of a new global sustainability initiative

At the end of last year, Rewired Earth and Bankers for Net Zero launched ‘The Constellation’, a new initiative to drive transparency throughout global supply chains and accelerate systemic change in the markets. As a supporter of the initiative since its inception, a team from Ordnance Survey (OS) attended The Constellation’s inaugural meeting at the House of Lords.

Over 100 people from across the world gathered for the event in person and online, united in their concern for sustainability. This included visionaries from the United Nations, PwC, Accenture, Deloitte, ESRI, KPMG, GS1, a number of universities including Exeter and Oxford, and representatives from the financial sector.

I joined the OS team led by Donna Lyndsay and Gill Mogg-Smith, together with Mark Tabor, Amy Wright and Katherine Featherstone, who work on strategic geospatial initiatives for OS. As a member of our legal team, it was fantastic to be there in person to understand at first hand the importance of legal work supporting trusted partnerships and facilitating the legal frameworks needed to bring about change towards sustainability goals.

Together, we discussed critical items on the sustainability agenda, including:

  • systems thinking and sharing best practice;
  • the importance of meaningful collaboration across business, government and communities;
  • driving greater transparency and trust across the market; and
  • how to reimagine value and rethink impact – how to turn theory to practice.

We also looked at the ambition of the Rewired Earth initiative to turn financial markets into a protective force for the environment. I was impressed by the vision, leadership and collaborative approach and networks required to move away from silos to achieve real solutions to accelerate change, together.

The inaugural meeting of The Constellation at the House of Lords. Source: Bankers For Net Zero

Supply Chain Data Partnership

During the event the vital importance of geospatial information and the role of OS as part of the solution to reach sustainability goals was championed by Donna Lyndsay.

Donna highlighted how the Supply Chain Data Partnership (SCDP) initiative was bringing together different organisations to build trust and traceability in global supply chains to verify locations pinpointed against a global map to reduce deforestation. Geospatial data and insight on the planet is a vital part of the sustainability solution.

The SCDP has been a key project that I’ve been working on behind the scenes, providing legal support, and it was a privilege to be part of the conversations at the House of Lords. There was such passion and commitment towards a better environment – not just in this country but across the planet. I got a better appreciation of the roles of OS and the SCDP at first hand and how the impact of my work helps OS to support such an important initiative for a better planet.

Reflecting on my day in the House of Lords, being surrounded by leading visionaries from the sustainability community, I felt inspired by the opportunity for us all work together to make meaningful positive change for a better future. The law is involved in this too: legal documents and processes work in a powerful way to create the frameworks necessary to support the changes we agree to. I’m really excited to see the next steps arising out of the collaborations and how I can support this from my role in the legal team.

Wider environmentally friendly initiatives supported by Legal

OS is committed to net zero ambitions – and our Legal team is no exception. We have set up a net zero action group to focus on changes to legal documents and processes to support climate friendly initiatives. We’ve introduced ‘climate clauses in our contracts adapted from the model clauses issued by lawyers at the Chancery Lane Project; these clauses embed climate considerations into contracts, for instance requiring suppliers to demonstrate commitment to achieving net zero.

We’ve also supported the business to reach and maintain its ISO 14001 accreditation. You can read more about this and OS’ commitment to support a sustainable planet in our Environment and Sustainability policy here.

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Headshot of Laura Sparmann
By Laura Sparmann

Solicitor, Ordnance Survey legal team