We appreciate the importance and urgency of taking action against climate change. We are committed to reducing our environmental impacts and associated emissions, including through energy and resource efficiency, waste prevention, travel reduction and supply chain management.
Our firmwide carbon reduction targets to 2025 compared to a 2019-20 financial year baseline are to:
- Reduce emissions from gas and electricity (scope 1 and 2) by 21%
- Reduce emissions from business flights (scope 3) by 30%
We are members of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, a network of law firms committed to combatting the climate emergency and reducing their carbon emissions to become more sustainable.
We have joined The Legal Renewables Initiative and made the commitment to source 100% of our electricity for UK offices from renewable sources by 2025.
Our commitments are monitored by our Strategy and Operations Boards.
Prior to setting our carbon reduction targets in 2020, we’d taken several steps to make our offices more efficient and reduce emissions. These included:
- Automatic PC shutdowns
- Switching to LED lightbulbs in toilets and client areas
- Maintaining our building management system to save energy
As we return to the ‘new normal’ we are looking for ways to lock in key behavioural changes and ensure our offices are as efficient as possible. These include:
- Introducing a new travel policy to keep business travel to a minimum
- Increasing LED usage across our offices
We’re moving London offices in early 2023. London is the largest of our offices, and our new premises are targeting a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
We have a zero-landfill policy in London and continually seek to reduce waste in all our offices. For example:
- We removed desk bins in 2019, saving over 57,000 bin bags per year
- We removed plastic from our canteen and replaced all products with reusable alternatives
- We use technology to save paper. For example, in 2020 we saved the equivalent of 12 trees by getting documents signed by Docusign rather than printing each document for manual signature
- We have several employee-led recycling schemes including lightbulbs, cosmetics and batteries
We offset carbon emissions by investing in projects that contribute to forest protection and restoration. In 2020, Lewis Silkin offset over 1000 tCO2e through Verified Carbon Standard projects to protect the Amazon from deforestation and degradation and planted over 1000 native trees in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya.
Our 2020 offsetting covered the following sources of emissions: site gas; refrigeration and AC; electricity generation, transmission and distribution; business travel; water and wastewater; waste disposal.
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.
We source products from social enterprises such as the Soap Co, an organisation that employs people who are blind and disabled and strives to reduce its impact on the environment.
In London we source fresh food locally and for non-perishables we source from Fairtrade suppliers.
We installed beehives on the roof of our London office in 2011. As well as providing an inner-city home for pollinators, this project enables our people to participate in beehive inspections and learn about the important role bees play in maintaining food security and preserving ecosystems and biodiversity.
Each year we send out bags of native, bee-friendly wildflowers to our people across the UK. In 2021 we sent out 130 bags of seeds – that’s enough to cover over 600 square meters.