Engaging customers on climate change changed my thinking

Pat Cannon
Director content development, LexisNexis Legal & Professional

December 2011

Corporate Responsibility (CR) has many benefits, for example: the satisfaction of doing the right thing; benefitting the community (whether local, regional or global); empowering, attracting, and retaining dedicated employees; and strengthening our corporate reputation and brand. 

A business trip to Seattle in 2008 resulted in an inspirational story to tell my sons and the realisation that LexisNexis Legal & Professional is uniquely positioned to advance CR.  The trip resulted in a deal with a boutique environmental law firm to provide us with articles on climate change.  The firm’s attorneys were brilliant, accomplished, and so committed to environmental law that they were even publishing a free weekly e-newsletter with cutting edge analysis of climate change and other top-of-mind topics.  They used the e-newsletter not only to establish themselves as thought leaders, but also to get the word out on what they considered to be issues of critical importance to their profession and our society.  

In my areas of responsibility, we have authoritative content on climate change, alternative energy, green buildings, mortgage relief, and safe drinking water.  Here’s an example of how we’ve used this content:  After the disastrous April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, we quickly created a Gulf Oil Spill Disaster Area of Law page on Lexis.com to provide our customers with fast access to a wealth of related sources.  

I’m pleased to be involved with the Environmental Law & Climate Change Community, one of several LexisNexis communities available to everyone and maintained by the LexisNexis Web 2.0 Team.  When this Community was launched in September 2007, one of our initial goals was to arrange for regularly updated content from experts.  We achieved that in part via agreements with Jenner & Block and Marten Law to have their experts prepare articles focusing on the implications of climate change developments.  

Of course, articles can be time-consuming to prepare and edit, so to provide for a steady and faster stream of up-to-the-minute content on the Community we’ve established relationships with many blogs and bloggers, including the Climate Law Blog of the Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law, and the Jenner & Block Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog.  Another popular feature is our collection of LexisNexis Legal & Professional podcasts, available free-of-charge and featuring interviews of our experts, including many environmental lawyers.

We use the Environmental Law & Climate Change Community to raise awareness of other CR-related LexisNexis and Reed Elsevier information as well.  For example, we recently posted a UNICEF report, Children’s Vulnerabilities of Climate Change and Disaster Impacts in East Asia and the Pacific, supported by Reed Elsevier.  The Community also includes a module devoted to the LexisNexis Global Climate Change Special Pamphlet Series, comprising papers prepared for LexisNexis by members of the prestigious American College of Environmental Lawyers and their colleagues.  When LexisNexis and the Atlantic Council co-hosted a symposium on Law and the Environment: Designing a Transatlantic Agenda, we posted symposium podcasts and speaker bios on the Community.

Our climate change experts and their good work played a large part in convincing me of the seriousness of the threats posed by climate change, and of the pressing need to provide our customers with information to help their clients manage and mitigate these risks. 

Pat Cannon

Katrina Crossley, Head of Editorial Co-ordination, LexisNexis