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Environment

Environmental performance is critical to the successful operation of our firm and so we continue to take important steps to try to reduce our environmental impact as well as engaging with our clients and our people on the subject.

As a major UK law firm with international offices, we recognise the importance of leading the way in adopting best environmental practice, taking responsibility for our actions and striving to achieve challenging reductions in emissions and waste. In the process we wish to inform and be informed by our clients and exceed their expectations.

We are members of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, an inclusive movement of law firms and related organisations committed to take action to improve the environmental sustainability of our operations. 

As a result of using the LSA’s carbon reporting tool in 2018 our carbon emissions for the preceding year were shown to be 1.82 tCO2e per employee, some way below the average figure of 3.24 tCO2e per employee for all LSA reporting firms.  In the interests of transparency a copy of our report is here.

Whilst that figure is a reduction on a previous measurement of our emissions from 2015/16 we are not content. 

Our targets include the following:

  • We plan to seek regular and consistent independent verification of our emissions data
  • Work to achieve average year on year reductions in our emissions (on a relative basis)
  • Map our activities against the UN Global Goals to identify gaps and assess what more we can do


We have a high level of employee engagement through our environmental sustainability task force (eFORCE) which is helping the firm to follow the well-recognised concept of “3R” – reduce; reuse; recycle.

Some of our activities to demonstrate this are set out below.

Reduce

  • The firm-wide introduction of electronic files and roll out of new tablet based technology significantly reduces the need for hard copies of documents
  • The low-tech step of changing to thinner grade paper has also reduced our consumption of the paper we do use
  • A review of our agile working practices on a day-to-day basis has seen a significant take up of opportunities for our lawyers to work from home
  • With only limited exceptions all of our paper used is Forest Stewardship certified
  • The majority of our UK office space is fitted with motion sensor lighting
  • As part of our recent office fit outs we have ensured that we have installed LED lighting and we are implementing a programme of installing LED where practically possible in other areas

Reuse

We have:

  • removed all single use plastic cutlery in the London office cafeteria and plasticised paper cups at tea points
  • supplied all employees with individual water bottles and thermal keep cups
  • removed all single use consumables from all tea points (plastic/paper cups/stirrers/sachets)
  • as part of a "War on Waste" campaign, removed all desk bins from our UK offices and require all recyclable waste to be disposed of in recycling bins

Recycle

  • We recycle all our client area coffee grounds into advanced biofuels and biochemicals
  • Food waste bins have been introduced on all floors in our UK offices
  • All in house generated products in the London office cafeteria are served in compostable Vegware containers that can be disposed of in the food waste stream
  • In our London office we use ethically sourced tea, with bags that have no string or paper attached. The bags are made from corn starch and are sealed with ultra sound and no glue (like most other brands), allowing them to be disposed of in the food waste bins
  • Our recent office fit-outs have included a strict recycling policy for unused & waste materials
  • We use the recycling services of one of our IT suppliers which achieves a 98% reuse rate of returned devices
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