Womble Bond Dickinson UK (WBD) has reported significant reductions in its carbon footprint and has achieved certification to The Planet Mark for the fourth year running.

The certification is based on WBD's commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability in its business operations by measuring, reducing and reporting its carbon footprint as well as engaging its key stakeholders.

WBD reported a 39% decrease in emissions compared to the previous year and the firm was praised for procuring renewable energy in five of its seven UK offices, with 49.6% of the energy used across the UK coming from renewable sources. The firm also reached a new milestone in reducing CO2 emissions per employee. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to pivot from office to home working and this has highlighted how having a flexible workforce can achieve further reductions in emissions. For example, WBD reported significant reductions in electricity usage and saw business travel fall by 97% in the past year.

Employee engagement also played an important role in reducing emissions in the past 12 months with the firm encouraging its people to monitor and improve their impact on the environment. This was the first time the firm introduced a measure of carbon as a result of homeworking.

Martin Hall, head of facilities management at WBD, comments:

"We're thrilled to have received the Planet Mark certification for the fourth year running. Whether at work or at home, we all want to adopt more environmentally sustainable behaviour and so this recognition is something we should all be proud of and a testament to the efforts put in by all our people across the UK.

"WBD wants to be a socially aware and ethical business and this includes minimising the negative impact of our firm on the environment. Our responsible business agenda recognises the importance of having an effective sustainability and environmental policy and we have agreed a target of net zero by 2030, which continues to be a key priority for the firm."

As well as working with The Planet Mark, WBD is a member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, and takes every opportunity to align environmental strategies with its clients and suppliers. The firm has set up five obtainable environmental targets to complete by the end of 2020, ranging from eradicating plastics from the working environment and making efficiency measures in the firm’s offices. WBD also recently won the Award for Sustainability at the LexisNexis Legal Awards 2020.

The Planet Mark’s three-step process to certification:

  1. Measure - The Planet Mark certification team conducts a robust measurement of carbon across scopes 1, 2 and 3, compiling a report that complies with global protocols.
  2. Engage - Secondly, The Planet Mark helps engage staff to unlock their knowledge and drive passion for change.
  3. Communicate - The programme provides tools to communicate progress, influence others and build a positive brand.