Legal giant Slaughter and May has won to the race to become the first law firm to have ambitious new emissions targets approved through the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).
The company last year committed to set a science-based targets aligned with the requirements of the Paris Agreement, pledging to reduce all its emissions – including Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions – by 50 per cent by 2030 against a 2018 base year.
It announced this week that the new targets have been approved by the independent SBTi, which concluded that the goals were in line with limiting global warming to 1.5C and would put the company on track to delivering net zero emissions by 2042.
Jeff Twentyman, partner at the firm and co-chair of the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development said, he was “proud that the firm has not only made this commitment, but that we are the first law firm to have our targets approved”, adding that the independent validation meant Slaughter and May’s decarbonisation efforts now had “a really clear focus and ambition”.
“As signatories to the Paris Pledge for Action, we are committed to setting science-based targets in line with the reductions required to limit global temperature increase to 1.5C,” he said. “As an organisation, we have already made large reductions in our carbon footprint over the last few years, and this is the next logical step.”
He also stressed that the company remained committed to meeting the target despite the significant economic turmoil unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are all facing a very challenging time at the moment; the Covid-19 crisis is fundamentally a human tragedy, but has also brought into sharp relief the extreme impact that humans have on the planet,” he said. “A great deal of work has been put into getting to where we are now, and we are keen that this is continued. Achieving these targets will be challenging. Despite the other difficulties that we face, it is vital that we don’t lose momentum.”
His comments were echoed by Helen Clark, head of environmental sustainability at the firm, who said the targets “reaffirm our commitment to operating as a responsible business”.
“We believe that the role of the private sector in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy is an absolutely vital one,” she said. “We are guided by government policy, but without businesses taking accountability for their actions and driving forward change, we will simply not be able to take the necessary steps quickly enough.”
The company said it had already reduced its carbon emissions associated with its energy use by 63 per cent over the past decade, but would now continue to step up its efforts to decarbonise. It also highlighted how it was the first law firm to join the RE100 initiative and pledge to source 100 per cent of its future global electricity requirements from renewables.
The news comes just days after rival legal giant CMS announced it was seeking SBTi approval after unveiling plans to become a net zero operation by 2025, while cutting emissions 30 per cent by 2025 both across its own operations and wider value chain – covering Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions – rising to a 50 per cent cut by 2030.Source: Businessgreen