Our aim is to minimise both the impact on the environment of our activities and those of our suppliers, by continually reviewing and improving our energy efficiency, recycling and waste management initiatives. We operate a 0% landfill policy and we are proud of our achievement of ensuring that none of our waste goes to landfill and we are working towards carbon neutrality under the guidance of the Carbon Trust.
We recycle everything from paper and cooking oil to glass and printer cartridges. The firm is proud to have won recycling awards and many of our purchasing decisions are influenced by CSR considerations (e.g. fair trade coffee, recycled paper). We have worked hard to reduce the energy consumption within the firm’s office buildings with remarkable results. The recycling and waste management programmes have been expanded and in 2011 were operating a recycling rate of 82% and 9% in food waste and other waste to energy incineration.
In recognition of our environmental efforts in this area, we have received a Gold award through the 2011 Clean City Awards Scheme run by the City of London.
Bees on the roof!
In the autumn of 2011 we had two bee hives installed on our London office roof by the Golden Co. They are an award-winning social enterprise which works with young people – Bee Guardians – who create, market and sell products. The Guardians earn an income from their share of running the business. Our hives help to protect the endangered bee population and we will be selling the honey in our staff canteen in the Spring. All monies will be re-invested to train more young people in beekeeping and business skills. The bees also help to raise awareness of biodiversity.
We participate in the BPP Pro Bono Centre, which operates a wide variety of pro bono projects that benefit members of the community in London who may not otherwise have access to legal services. By working with BPP we are also able to support law students to put their legal knowledge and skills into practice and build experience that will prepare them for their career in law. Our people give their time free and support programmes such as an employment law telephone advice service and a legal advice clinic.
Community & charitable donations
We recognise our responsibility to work in partnership with the communities in which we operate and support fund raising by our staff.
We provide opportunities for individuals and teams of volunteers to help in various ways. The initiatives may take many forms and are not only based on legal skills; for example, we are now in our third year of involvement in a volunteer reading scheme at a local primary school, St Albans Holborn, where many pupils’ literacy rate is below average for the UK.
Through our policy on charitable donations, we seek to make contributions to charities that are of a personal interest to our staff and partners, both financially and through more active means. Staff and partners are invited to nominate and vote for a charity to support over the course of a financial year. Through this initiative, the firm is currently supporting Helen & Douglas House, a children’s hospice. Initiatives include direct fundraising with the staff and volunteering time for team challenges and days out for the guests of the hospice. In July 2011, over 20 of our colleagues participated in the National Three Peaks Challenge to raise much needed funds for Helen & Douglas House. The team raised over £30,000, more than double their target amount.
Other community activity we have undertaken includes:
- Being an active participant in the ‘Suit in to Loot’ campaign – run by TRAID a charity committed to combating the effects of world poverty, they collect donated clothing which is then quite literally turned into loot
- Donating all old IT equipment to computeraid.org which data wipes, tests and refurbishes computers for re-use in education and health in developing countries
- Supporting the Single Homeless Project, whose core value and mission is to reduce poverty and discourage social exclusion and homelessness, by taking part in the Asics British 10k and volunteers working for a day at one of the charity’s hostels to clear and re-design the garden
- Supporting Softpower Education in Uganda through ongoing fundraising and volunteering including an auction from which we raised over £30,000 which paid for the complete renovation of a school and many more projects
We aim to provide an employment framework which promotes well being, career and personal development, genuine communication and consultation and a fair reward for our staff and partners.
As part of our commitment to employee engagement, we have been participating in the annual Best Companies Survey for four years. Through this survey we have been able to take on board feedback from our staff and partners, allowing us to continually review and refine our policies and practices (such as those in our Corporate Social Responsibility Programme) to meet the needs of both the staff and the business. This continual review is done in conjunction with our staff consultation forum which was formed as a result of initial feedback from the Best Companies Survey.
In 2013 we mainteind 2 star accreditation from Best Companies and were ranked top for wellbeing. We achieved position 33 in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list – the second highest ranked law firm and one of only a handful of the UK’s top law firms making the list.
We are an accredited Living Wage Employer. A living wage employer ensures that all employees aged 18 and over, including certain classes of contracted staff, are paid at least the living wage. We also ensure that our suppliers comply with the Living Wage accreditation.
Living Wage Week is the first UK wide celebration of the Living Wage, and the first annual Living Wage Week happens from the 4th to the 10th November 2012. For more information visit www.livingwage.org.uk.