On Thursday 21st November, Hassans, in the presence of the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Minster for Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change, John Cortes, established a purpose trust known as the Hassans Environmental Trust. (A copy of the Deed of Settlement establishing the Hassans Environmental Trust is available for review at: https://www.gibraltarlaw.com/the-hassans-environmental-trust-2/.)
Following Hassans’ publication of its Environmental Policy on 5th June 2019, coinciding with World Environment Day, the firm had already taken steps internally towards mitigating its environmental impact. However, the firm is concerned that the impact of climate change on lives around the globe is increasing each year and more needs to be done externally, as well as internally, to raise awareness and change attitudes and behaviours to reduce our impact on the environment.
The firm therefore established a Gibraltar purpose trust known as the Hassans Environmental Trust, and in order to mark the firm’s 80th anniversary, settled the amount of £80,000 into this Trust.
The Hassans Environmental Trust is structured with sustainability in mind. To that end, rather than appointing the capital of the trust and depleting the initial £80,000 over time, the trustees will be investing this amount into debentures issued by the Gibraltar Saving Bank, and each year, the accrued interest will be applied towards preserving Gibraltar’s ecological assets or towards other environmental initiatives.
The firm will also continue to add to the capital of the Trust by settling monies into the Trust each year.
James Levy, Senior Partner, Hassans commented:
“The firm issues thousands of invoices each year and as such, we will at the end of each financial year settle the amount of at least £1 into the Trust for each invoice Hassans has been paid in that financial year. 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 trustees of the Hassans Environmental Trust will be Line Trust Corporation Limited. The Enforcer of the Trust will the Senior Environment Officer at the Department of Environment from time to time, in order to bring independence and a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure that the objectives of the Trust are satisfied.
Javier Chincotta, Managing Partner, continued:
“In addition to the creation of the Trust, we have also made progress internally on environmentally damaging practices and will continue to do so; we have moved away from plastic bottles and are now using recyclable tetra pack water cartons for visitors to our offices and we have refillable glass bottles for larger meetings and conferences. In due course, and as soon as the building outfitters are available, we will be installing water filters on each floor of our premises to provide staff with constant access to filtered water which can be used to refill their Hassans’ water bottles that we provide all staff with.
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. 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.”