We are committed to managing and reducing our environmental impacts to respond to the climate emergency and to build a more sustainable future for all.
We are currently focusing on three main areas where, as a business and as individuals, we can make a positive difference:
- Measure, manage and reduce our carbon emissions with the view to become net zero by April 2023
- Promote policies and practices which reduce waste and energy consumption, both internally and within our supply chain
- Support and empower our community to make sustainable choices, both at work and in their daily lives.
In 2020 we undertook our first carbon audit to gain an accurate measurement of our carbon emissions across all five of our offices. We are committed to reducing our emissions and becoming net zero carbon by April 2023.
A large proportion of our overall carbon footprint comes from energy use in our offices. We’ve signed up to the Legal Sustainability Alliance’s Renewable Energy Initiative and have pledged to secure all electricity for our UK offices from 100% renewable energy sources by 2025. We are also taking steps to increase the efficiency of our offices and to put energy reduction policies in place. These include switching to LED lightbulbs and automating the shutdown of PCs to help save power.
We have a comprehensive travel policy and encourage our people to avoid unnecessary business travel and to choose the most sustainable transport options when they do need to travel for work. In 2019 we offset 52 tCO2e through verified carbon reduction projects and planted 52 trees in London to offset the carbon for some of our business flights that year.
Waste management and reduction
We have a robust recycling and waste management system. This includes a zero per cent landfill policy in London, the largest of our offices, which has been in place for seven years. All our waste is disposed of by registered carriers and removed to registered disposal sites.
We are continually looking at ways to reduce waste. We have removed bins from desks and moved to centralised bin stations, saving over 57,000 plastic bin liners per year. We endeavour to incorporate reuse and circular economy principles into our supply chain wherever possible. We use refillable soap bottles in all our London office bathrooms, and when upgrading our firmwide IT system this year, we opted for leasing rather than purchasing new laptops. In Cardiff we have replaced plastic milk bottles with glass bottles which are rinsed and returned to the provider weekly, saving over 40 plastic bottles a month.
We also support colleagues in their personal sustainability journeys. We provided reusable bamboo cups to those who requested them and introduced an Ecover refill station where colleagues can refill their washing up liquid bottle in exchange for a donation to our firm charity partner. We also have many recycling initiatives led by colleagues across the firm, including lightbulb, battery and cosmetic recycling points.
Ethical and sustainable sourcing
We evaluate the environmental impact of any new products we intend to purchase, and favour more environmentally friendly and efficient products where possible. In London, we’ve been sourcing food solely from local producers since 2006. Where the produce is not fresh (e.g. tea and coffee) we source from Fairtrade suppliers. We have increased the range of vegetarian options in our London office canteen, making it easier for people to adopt more eco-friendly eating habits.
We also source many products from social enterprises. For example, we use the Soap Co, an organisation employing people who are blind and disabled, in our client bathrooms. Their products use less harsh chemicals than your usual soap and come in recycled bottles that we can refill.
We installed bee hives on the roof of our offices in 2011 to help the declining city bee population and to engage with our local community by working with St Mary’s Secret Garden, a community garden in Hackney. As well as providing an inner-city home for pollinators, this project enables our people to participate in weekly beehive inspections and learn about bees and biodiversity. Volunteers also take part in the annual honey harvest in autumn. We sell the honey in our staff canteen and all money raised is re-invested or donated to the firm ’s nominated charity.
We’re working on our sustainability policies and practices to promote sustainable consumption and to act against climate change.