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Hassans launches environmental trust as ‘a call to action’

Gibraltar-based law firm Hassans has established a trust to fund green initiatives and promote greater awareness of the environment and sustainability.

The Hassans Environmental Trust is part of the firm’s activities to mark its 80th anniversary and will be funded with an £80,000 settlement that will be invested in debentures issued by the Gibraltar Savings Bank.

With an eye on sustainability, and rather than depleting that initial sum, the trust will instead invest the annual interest on preserving Gibraltar’s ecological assets or other environmental initiatives.

Hassans will also continue to top up the funds in the trust each year.

“The firm issues thousands of invoices each year and as such, we will at the end of each financial year settle the amount of £1 into the Trust for each invoice Hassans has been paid in that financial year,” said James Levy, senior partner at Hassans.

“In this way, the amount of capital in the Hassans Environmental Trust will continue to grow over time.”

“As a consequence, the interest earned, and thereby the amount contributed by the Trust towards ‘green’ initiatives, will also increase each year.”

“In addition, Hassans will be able to direct the proceeds of any environmental fundraising events towards amounts settled into the Trust.”

“We consider this structure upholds the principle of sustainability.”

The trust was launched at a small event in Hassans’ Midtown offices yesterday afternoon in the presence of Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Environment Minister Dr John Cortes, as well as senior officials from the Department of the Environment including chief executive Dr Liesl Mesilio Torres.

Vikram Nagrani, a partner at Hassans, outlined the trust’s aims and said he hoped the initiative would serve as a rallying call for other firms and individuals in the face of global challenges including climate change.

“This is a call to action that we need to take as a community and as individuals,” he said.

Mr Picardo also welcomed the initiative, which he said tied in with the government’s green agenda for the coming four years.

“If a city is not green and sustainable, then we are not a child-friendly city because we are not thinking about the next generation,” he said.

The trustees of the Hassans Environmental Trust will be Line Trust Corporation Limited.

The enforcer of the trust will initially be Stephen Warr, senior environment officer at the Department of Environment, who was also at the presentation and brings independence and a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure that the objectives of the trust are satisfied.

The creation of the trust is part of a wider effort at the form to adopt greener working practices.

Hassans has stopped using plastic bottles of water, opting instead for tetra pack water cartons for visitors and refillable glass bottles for large meetings and conferences. It has provided Hassans branded water bottles to staff and plans to install water filters on each floor to provide filtered water.

“We are also trialling shared printers to reduce our carbon footprint, to reduce our dependency on scarce metals and other environmentally damaging components used in IT equipment, as well as to reduce the amount of waste and toners,” said Javier Chincotta, Hassans’ managing partner.

“We will also be trialling recycled paper on those printers and, should our tests be successful, we will roll out these facilities across all departments of the firm.”

“Lastly, we are looking into the viability of moving to electric mopeds for our messengers.”

“This is something that we will endeavour to implement as soon as possible, once we have fully investigated infrastructure issues, equipment suitability and safety assessments.”

“We hope the establishment of the Hassans Environmental Trust and other initiatives we are pursuing demonstrate our serious commitment to environmental issues that face all of us, and that these actions encourage others in the private sector locally as well as ourselves individually to take note of our impact on our planet and our community, and to modify our behaviours so that we may leave a lasting legacy for our future Gibraltar, our wider environment and our future generations.”