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Carolyn Kaplan is counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer for Nixon Peabody, the first such position in a law firm. She oversees our Legally Green® initiative and represents clients that are interested in leveraging their focus on sustainability to bring new products, technologies and solutions to market.

What do you focus on?

I oversee Nixon Peabody’s Legally Green® initiative, bringing 25 years of experience in energy, environmental and sustainability issues. In my role as Chief Sustainability Officer I focus on three primary areas, assisting clients to create long-term value through sustainable business strategies, partnering with leading organizations on sustainability initiatives, and implementing sustainable policies and practices throughout our firm.


I work with clients who are interested in integrating sustainability into their business strategy to manage risk, achieve operational goals and drive competitive advantage. I advise my clients on issues such as validation of green claims, renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, reporting and disclosure and sustainable supply chains.

Ideas & Connecting

I speak frequently at conferences, seminars and other industry events, often discussing the business value of sustainable practices. I collaborate with global leaders and NGOs, working to develop innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges.


I work with our Green Operations Steering Committee and Local Sustainability teams to implement sustainability policies and practices throughout the firm. Recent efforts include obtaining LEED® Silver and Gold certification for several of our offices, participating in EDF’s Climate Corps program and implementing energy efficiency retrofits.

What do you see on the horizon?

I am seeing sustainability as a business imperative and, increasingly, a board-level concern. What are the signs? Global organizations driving sustainability through their supply chains, the proliferation of sustainability indices, growing stakeholder demands for greater transparency, the widespread availability of ESG data, evolving definitions of materiality and developing interest in shared value strategies.

Sustainability Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “A Practical Guide for Creating a Sustainable Legal Office,” Boston Bar Association, Boston, MA, May 2014
  • Panelist, “Out of the Box: Unconventional Public Interest Careers,” Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, April 2014
  • Panelist, “Regulation of Corporate Greenwashing,” Practicing Law Institute’s Environmental Regulation 2013: Hot Topics, Regulatory Developments, and Practical Guidance for Corporate Compliance, New York, NY, December 2013
  • Keynote Speaker, Net Impact Boston Professional Chapter Annual Meeting, November 2013
  • Panelist, “Sustainable Strategies for Business,” Greentopia Futures Summit, Rochester, NY, September 2013
  • Panelist, “Successful Employee Engagement in Sustainability Programs – State Street, EnerNOC, and Nixon Peabody,” Law Firm Sustainability Network Webinar, June 2013
  • Panelist, “Virtuous Cycle of Organizational Energy Efficiency,” Verge Boston Conference, April 2103
  • Panelist, “Building the Business Case for Sustainability, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Forum, April 2013
  • Speaker, “Creating Your Sustainability Plan,” Rochester Sustainability Network, October 2012
  • Speaker, “Sustainable Franchises,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, April 2012.
  • Speaker, Sustainable Investors Roundtable, Federal Street Advisors, December 2011
  • Panelist, “What Business Models are Contributing to a Sustainable 21st Century Economy?” National Institute for a Sustainable Economy (NISE) Business Summit, Boston, MA, October 2011
  • Panelist, “Green Leasing,” Aligning Tenant/Landlord Sustainability and Energy Goals A Better City Forum, October 2011
  • Speaker, “Nixon Peabody’s Legally Green® Initiative,” Charles River Associates, February 2011
  • Panelist, Making the Business Case for Sustainability, A Better City Forum, Boston, MA, November 2010
  • Panelist, “Commitment to the Triple Bottom Line: Nixon Peabody’s Legally Green, Diversity and Pro Bono Initiatives,” ABA/Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL, November 2010
  • Lecturer, “An Introduction to Sustainability Initiatives,” Boston University Metropolitan College, Boston, MA, October 2010
  • Panelist, “Sustainability for Franchises: Ideas and Implementation Strategies to Enhance your Brand,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, October 2010
  • Panelist, “Greening Your Law Firm: Practical Solutions,” Green Matters: Green Cities, Business and Beyond,” New Orleans, LA, October 2010
  • Speaker, “Linking Sustainability to Business and Compliance Strategies,” Are You Prepared: Staying Ahead in a Changing Regulatory World, ENSR/Nixon-Peabody, Boston, MA, October 2010
  • Speaker, “Legally Green® in a Tough Economy,” Association of Legal Administrators Annual Conference & Exposition, Boston, MA, May 2010
  • Speaker, “LEED Professional Credentials,” Nitsch Engineering, Boston, MA, February 2010
  • Panelist, “LEED Professional Credentials,” US Green Building Council, Massachusetts Chapter/Nixon Peabody, Boston, MA December 2009
  • Panelist, “The Green Job Economy and You,” Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, New York, NY, November 2009
  • Speaker, “Greening the Law Firm,” Legal Marketing Association New England Annual Conference, Boston, MA, November 2009
  • Panelist, “LEED 2009—A Sustainable Strategy for Everyone,” Commercial Real Estate Women Network Convention, Boston, MA, October 2009
  • Panelist, Green Building Rating Systems,” Green Building Law: Opportunities & Risks, HB Webinar, September 2009
  • Panelist, “The Green in Green:  Sustainability, Green and Cleantech—Clearing the Hurdles to Value Creation,” The Executive Council, New York, NY, May 2009
  • Panelist, “Corporate Environmental Stewardship—Best Practices,” Environmental Business Council of New England, Waltham, MA, May 2009
  • Panelist, “Going Green—How Legal Departments Can Save Time, Money, and the Environment,” Corporation Service Company Earth Day Webinar, April 2009
  • Panelist, “Legally Green,” Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, October 2008
  • Moderator, “Money, Technology & Policy: The State’s Green Future,” Boston Business Journal Green Business Summit, Boston, MA, May 2008
  • Moderator and Panelist, “Is it Easy Being Green?” Association of Corporate Counsel, Northeast Chapter, Boston, MA, May 2008
  • Moderator, “Sustainable Development & Green Design,” Higher Education & Real Estate: Innovative Strategies for Campus Planning and Facility Financing, Institute for Professional and Executive Development, Inc., Boston, MA, April 2008
  • Panelist, “Legally Green,” Rochester Green Business Network, Triple Bottom Line Conference & Expo, Rochester, NY, April 2008
  • Speaker, “Legally Green,” Association of Legal Administrators, Rochester, NY, April 2008
  • Panelist, “Getting from Trash Cans to Recycling Bins…and other ways to green your office,” Urban Land Institute Green Program, Boston, MA, April 2008
  • Panelist, “Case Study: Mobilizing to ‘Go Green,’” Association of Legal Administrators, Law Firm Green: The New Black, Washington, DC, February 2008

Renewable Energy Speaking Engagements

  • Program Chair and Panelist, Environmental Business Council of New England, Seminar Series on Land Based Wind Energy, Boston, MA, March 2008
  • Panelist, “AWEA Siting Handbook,” AWEA Wind Power Project Siting Workshop, Austin, TX, February 2008
  • Introductory Speaker, “Logistics: Garnering Wind Power Offshore,” Environmental Business Council of New England Seminar Series on Offshore Wind Energy, November 2007
  • Panelist, “Legislative Update and Policy,” and “Siting, Real Estate, Environmental and Regulatory Issues,” Institute for Professional and Executive Development, Inc., Financing Wind Power: The Future of Energy, Santa Fe, NM, July 2007
  • Panelist, “Navigating Environmental Review: Lessons Learned from Large-Scale Offshore and Land-Based Wind Projects,” American Wind Energy Association, Windpower 2005 Conference and Exhibition, Denver, CO, May 2005
  • Moderator and Panelist, “Local Permitting: Strategies and Pitfalls,” American Wind Energy Association, East Coast Siting Workshop, Boston, MA, March 2005
  • Panelist, Wind Energy Development, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Fall Legal Conference, Boston, MA, October 2003
  • Moderator and Panelist, Coastal Wind Power Energy Generation: Capacities and Conflicts, Boston College Law School Environmental Affairs Law Review, Fall Symposium, September 2003


  • “Congress, the Courts, and the Army Corps: Siting the First Offshore Wind Farm in the United States,” Boston College Law School Environmental Affairs Law Review (Vol. 31, Issue 2), 2004.
  • “Opportunities and Challenges for Wind Power Developers,” North American Wind Power, (Vol. 1, No. 6), July 2004, co-authored with Richard M. Cogen, Esq.

Media Clips

  • People on the Move
    Boston Business Journal | July 10, 2014
    This news brief notes that Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan has joined the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board.
  • Out of the Office
    Boston Business Journal | October 11, 2013
    This coverage notes that a team of attorneys and business leaders from Nixon Peabody and State Street volunteered on Lovells Island in the Boston Harbor. The team worked on restoring the habitat of the least tern, a rare seabird listed as a species of “special concern” under Massachusetts law.
  • Nixon's at it Again – Helps Create Law Firm Sustainability Network
    The Sustainable Lawyer | September 12, 2013

    This article highlights Nixon Peabody’s leadership role with the Law Firm Sustainability Network, an organization focused on promoting environmental sustainability in the legal industry. Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan serves on the board of the LFSN.

  • . . . View all . . .
  • Law Firms Seeking Own Standard for Sustainability
    Providence Business News | September 9, 2013

    This article features Nixon Peabody and our involvement in the Law Firm Sustainability Network. Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan is quoted throughout the piece.

  • Law Firms Push for Environmental Sustainability
    Law360 | August 6, 2013

    Nixon Peabody is among the law firms highlighted in this story about the Law Firm Sustainability Network (LFSN). In addition to Nixon Peabody being a member of this organization and serving on LFSN’s Leadership Council, Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan serves as a board member for the LFSN.

  • Boston group shifts from 'Big Dig' to lowering commercial carbon emissions
    ClimateWire | June 18, 2013

    Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan discusses the firm’s participation in A Better City’s “Challenge for Sustainability” in a feature article profiling the nonprofit’s priorities to make Boston a sustainable leader.

  • Human Capital: People on the move
    Boston Business Journal | January 30, 2013

    This coverage notes that Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan has joined the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association (CROA) board of advisors.

  • New ‘Green Guides' Set Rules for Environmental Marketing
    Rochester Business Journal | November 23, 2012

    This column, co-authored by partner Jeff LaBarge, Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan, and associate Alison Torbitt, discusses new “Green Guides” from the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Why Sustainability Execs Should Shun the S-Word | July 25, 2012

    This article highlights a new report aimed at understanding the skills, drivers, and internal collaboration strategies sustainability executives need to succeed. The group surveyed corporate sustainability leaders primarily from Fortune 100 companies. Nixon Peabody’s Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan was among those leaders who participated in this report.

  • Nixon Peabody Invests in Energy Efficiency
    The Sustainable Lawyer | May 31, 2012
    Boston Bar Association Sustainability Task Force member and firmwide chief sustainability officer Carolyn Kaplan discusses the firm’s participation in EDF Climate Corps, an innovative energy efficiency program.
  • Sustainability: What Law Firms Have at Stake
    Sustainability: What Law Firms Have at Stake | May 12, 2012

    This feature article discusses the evolving view of sustainability within the legal profession. The article includes Nixon Peabody and highlights the firm’s Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan. Carolyn is quoted addressing the firm’s holistic approach to sustainability.

  • The Sustainable Firm
    The Environmental Forum | May 1, 2012
    This feature story discusses law firm sustainability. Nixon Peabody is highlighted as a pioneer in sustainability efforts and is highlighted as a firm that takes a holistic approach to sustainability efforts. Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan is highlighted in the article as well as an energy and environmental attorney with practical experience and an in-depth knowledge of the legal framework, political culture, and attitudes of clients toward sustainability.
  • Taking the Legal Route to Sustainability | April 15, 2012

    Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan is featured in this article discussing Nixon Peabody’s Legally Green initiative, the progress the firm has made, and the growing client demand for sustainability. This article is based on a recent Nature of Business radio program interview that focused on Carolyn.

  • Law Firms Join Network to Explore New Ways to Make Practice ‘Green’
    New York Law Journal | February 6, 2012

    This article highlights the law firms participating in the Law Firm Sustainability Network, a group dedicated to developing “green’ law offices. Nixon Peabody Chief Sustainability Officer Carolyn Kaplan provides commentary.





Carolyn S. Kaplan