Womble Bond Dickinson Carbon Reduction Plan
1. Commitment to achieving net zero
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is committed to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2030. Developing and stretching our environmental targets is core to our business and we have agreed, and are committed, to being a net zero business by 2030.
Our firm has already reached some impressive milestones: we procure renewable energy in five of our eight UK offices, with over 60% of the electricity used across the UK during 2022/23 certified renewable. Our firm recently achieved a 50.6% decrease in reported emissions compared to the baseline year (2019/20) and successfully retained our EcoVadis Gold rating.
Our approach and focus is led from the top down, with our Chair Nick Barwood leading our Ethical Thinking Group who oversee our Responsible Business activity and meet on a quarterly basis. We also have a net zero partner, Jon Bower, who leads a committed Net Zero Team who meet regularly to focus our activity.
To further help us deliver on our net zero commitment, we have over 30 Environmental Representatives across our eight office locations. They support our Environmental Management Review Team in maintaining an effective Environmental Management System and driving firmwide and regional environmental initiatives. We are also founding and executive members of the Legal Sustainability Alliance (LSA).
Further information regarding our Environmental commitment and focus can be found in our Environmental Policy Statement on WBD's website.
2. Baseline emissions footprint
Baseline emissions are a record of the greenhouse gases that have been produced in the past and were produced prior to the introduction of any strategies to reduce emissions.
Baseline emissions are the reference point against which emissions reduction can be measured.
Baseline Year: 2019/20
Additional Details relating to the Baseline Emissions calculations.
Baseline reporting year and first year of SECR (Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting). Both Market based and Location based figures included. Figures certified by the Planet Mark, who also assist with our SECR submissions.
Primarily scope 1 and 2 emissions, with scope 3 emissions reporting originally restricted to some procurement and business travel. With the support of our consultants, WBD have now completed extended scope 3 measurement of emissions for the baseline year revealing a total footprint of 6,548.6 tCO2e. We are currently in the process of completing an extended scope 3 measurement for the reporting period 2022/23. Once this has been completed, the figures below will be updated.
Baseline year emissions:
425.8 (Market Based), 591.9 (Location Based)
(Paper, Business Travel)
1556.9 (Market Based), 1723.1 (Location Based)
3. Current emissions reporting
Reporting Year: 2022/23
221.4 (Market Based), 307.3 (Location Based)
(Paper, Business Travel)
763.8 (Market Based), 849.7 (Location Based)
4. Emissions reduction targets
In order to continue our progress towards achieving net zero, we are committed to achieving the following carbon reduction targets:
- Reduce emissions associated with travel by 50% by 2026
- Set a minimum standard for EPCs in buildings through acquisition; BREEAM; refurbishments etc
- Year on year carbon reduction with an aim to be zero carbon emissions by 2030. This will include a significant broadening of the extent of scope 3 emissions reporting, a project that is well underway
- Reduce paper consumption by 60% by 2026
- Increase the percentage of recycled waste across all offices
- Working with our Landlords and Managing Agents to ensure our buildings source 100% renewable energy wherever possible by 2026 *
- Reduce plastic consumption at all WBD locations
- Eliminate single-use plastic wherever possible, working in partnership with our suppliers including our catering contractor Vacherin
- Develop and implement a robust Net Zero action plan, outlining further targets and measures to help progress towards this Net Zero objective.
* In some buildings such as our Newcastle location where we benefit from the District Energy Centre (CHP), renewable energy categorisation may not be option. In any instances such as this, we will work with our Landlords and Managing agents to ensure operations are as energy/carbon efficient as possible.
Based on current scope of reporting, we would project that carbon emissions will decrease to at least 689.2 tCO2e (location based) by 2026. This ensures we remain on our net zero trajectory and also keeps us within the reduction target of 12.5% year on year, a target recommended by the Planet Mark, who have certified our environmental performance for seven consecutive years. Achieving the 689.2 tCO2e by 2026 will represent an overall reduction of 18.89% on the current emissions figure of 849.7 tCO2e (2022/23).
However it is important to note the projection above will be updated as a result of imminent changes to our scope of reporting, an integral element of our progression towards a Net Zero target by 2030. The current emissions reporting is primarily focused around scope 1 and 2 emissions, with a limited degree of scope 3 emissions reporting. We will broaden the extent of our scope 3 reporting to include significant emissions categories such as procured goods and services. With the introduction of new reporting categories, we anticipate an initial increase in total emissions but recognise this is a vital step in our progression towards our Net Zero goal.
5. Carbon reduction projects
The following environmental management measures and projects have been completed or implemented since the 2019-20 baseline. The carbon emission reduction achieved equates to 873.4 tCO2e, a 50.69% reduction against the 2019-20 baseline and these measures will remain in effect as we build on our environmental performance:
- ISO 14001 certification, recognising a framework is in place for continuous environmental performance improvement
- EcoVadis Gold Medal, assessing our overall responsible business activity with a section focused on the environment. We have risen from Bronze in 2020 to Gold in 2022, and successfully retained a Gold rating in 2023. We are currently rated as 'outstanding' in environment, and will continue to develop and grow in this space
- Completed refurbishment of our Leeds, Bristol and Plymouth offices, incorporating a full upgrade to LED lighting
- Installed PIR sensor lighting wherever possible at our offices
- Significant investment in video conferencing technology at our offices
- Upgrade to Microsoft Teams and enhanced remote working technologies to help reduce the requirement for travel
- Refreshed our travel policy, further aligning our policy with our Net Zero ambitions and encouraging colleagues to consider sustainable travel alternatives wherever possible
- Investment in training to further develop the skills and knowledge base of our people in relation to sustainability and carbon emissions reduction – examples include IEMA training courses and Net Zero awareness workshops
- Engaged our colleagues in further Firmwide commuting surveys, helping us better understand the impact of commuting habits on carbon emissions and identify key areas of opportunity to promote sustainable commuting alternatives such as cycling through our Cycle to Work scheme
- We have relocated to a BREEAM building (The Spark) that meets the Fitwel standard, supporting a healthier workplace environment and improving occupant health and productivity. This building utilises geothermal activity to help heat and cool the building through a network of underground pipes. Over a third of the Firm (400+) are based across 37,547 sq. ft of the new building
- Reconfigured our space at both our Leeds and Bristol offices, significantly reducing our space footprint.
In the future as we continue our progress towards a Net Zero target, we have a number of current and proposed projects that will aid us on this journey. These include:
- Broadening the extent of our scope 3 emissions reporting. To facilitate a more comprehensive assessment of the emissions associated with our supply chain, we will also introduce a further enhanced and robust procurement strategy
- Engage further with our supply chain to better understand the emissions impact in this area, opportunities for improvement and work collaboratively to maximise the impact of our emissions reduction efforts. This will include several supplier engagement workshops hosted by WBD
- Take onboard opportunities to further reduce scopes 1 and 2 emissions based on recommendations from energy audits, notably our upcoming ESOS audits
- Continue to enhance the quality of our data, ensuring our reporting is robust, comprehensive and backed up by evidence. Our success in this area to date was recognised at the Planet Mark awards where we were awarded in the Data Quality and Collection category (recognition of a fantastic score of 95%).
- Taking all opportunities to review and rationalise our office footprint in light of our new hybrid working model, helping to significantly reduce our emissions
- Working closely with our Mechanical & Electrical Services consultants to monitor, assess and review our assets and plant - identifying any further opportunities to increase energy efficiency in our operations including introducing new technologies such as remote sensors
- Installation of LED lighting at our head office in London, ensuring all our offices are fully LED
- Installation of further electric vehicle charge points at more sites, with a view to replacing our diesel/petrol fleet with electric vehicles at every opportunity
- Rolling out a new online environmental training platform as well as hosting a number of seminars and workshops in partnership with our environmental consultants, both aimed at raising further awareness and enhancing engagement amongst colleagues at WBD
- Continuing with initiatives such as our EnviroNovember campaign and Net Zero week, aimed at raising awareness Net Zero and inspiring carbon reduction ideas and initiatives.
6. Declaration and sign off
This Carbon Reduction Plan has been completed in accordance with PPN 06/21 and associated guidance and reporting standard for Carbon Reduction Plans.
Emissions have been reported and recorded in accordance with the published reporting standard for Carbon Reduction Plans and the GHG Reporting Protocol corporate standard and uses the appropriate Government emission conversion factors for greenhouse gas company reporting.
Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions have been reported in accordance with SECR requirements, and the required subset of Scope 3 emissions have been reported in accordance with the published reporting standard for Carbon Reduction Plans and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard.
This Carbon Reduction Plan has been reviewed and signed off by the board of directors (or equivalent management body).
Signed on behalf of Womble Bond Dickinson:
Nick Barwood, Chairman
Date: 16 October 2023
Publication date: October 2023