We have been working hard to reduce our carbon footprint for over a decade now. As a city-based professional services firm, our direct emissions are relatively low, but we are determined to do our bit to reduce any negative impact that we have on the planet and to encourage others to do the same. In 2023 we started a project to consider setting a science-based target to help with our carbon emission reductions in aiming to reach net zero by 2050.

To do this, we had to look at all our Scope 3 (indirect) emissions – including purchased goods and services – a daunting task that we hadn’t examined in detail before. We spent several months reviewing all our spend data and categorising it with fellow B Corp, Grain. Using the Compare Your Footprint tool, our total footprint was then calculated in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to estimate emissions based on spend across different categories. As expected, given that we are now calculating our entire carbon footprint and not just the elements that were easy to assess, this resulted in a significant increase in our carbon emissions from 120.9 tonnes in 2021 to 1,283 tonnes for the financial year ending 31 March 2023.

One of the alarming aspects of the process is seeing what a high proportion of our total emissions comes from elements over which we have very little control, despite our careful spending choices over the years. However, we’re determined to take much bigger steps to reduce our impact. In January 2024 our Management Board approved our Climate Programme’s recommendation and we set a formal carbon reduction target with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and have submitted our plan to them for approval.

We are taking 2019 as our baseline year as that was the first year we had data on employee commuting. We are planning to take a fast track approach to reducing our emissions, meaning not only that we will reach net zero by 2050, but that we will have halved emissions between our 2019 baseline and 2030. We know that this will be a challenge. We have been working with our suppliers since 2019 to encourage them to reduce their negative social and environmental impacts, and choosing socially responsible suppliers to partner with, but our footprint is still higher than we would like. We will continue our efforts to work with suppliers who are showing leadership in carbon reduction.

We’re also collaborating with others in the legal services industry and the wider professional services sector to bring about meaningful change across the economy. And we encourage law firms and other organisations both to set science-based targets and to be transparent about what those targets are.

We’ll share more details once we have received feedback from SBTi on our targets. In the meantime, get in touch with Lawrie, Megan or Angela if you want to find out more.