Womble Bond Dickinson is amongst the first law firms in the UK to announce its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2030. WBD launched this week its Carbon Reduction Plan which includes a number of engagements and measures to support the firm on its journey towards becoming a net zero business.
Some of the key targets listed in the plan include:
- All offices to use 100% renewably sourced energy by 2026
- Reducing emissions associated with travel by 50% by 2026, supported by the firm's hybrid working model, launched in September, to enable people to choose where they want to work
- Setting a minimum standard for EPCs in buildings through acquisitions, refurbishments and BREEAM Sustainability Assessment Methods
- Enhancing its already robust procurement strategy and working in partnership with its supply chain to share best practice and collaboratively meet the challenges of net zero
- Furthering the scope and extent of its carbon emissions reporting. In 2020 for example, WBD introduced for the first time a measure of carbon as a result of homeworking
- Reducing paper consumption by 60% by 2026
- Increasing the percentage of recycled waste across all offices
- Reducing plastic consumption at all WBD locations.
WBD has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to its environmental management. The firm already procures renewable energy in five of its seven UK offices, with nearly 50% of the energy used across the UK coming from renewable sources. The firm also recently reported a 39% decrease in emissions compared to the previous year as well as 97% drop in business travel, as the firm pivoted to home working during the pandemic.
Nick Barwood, UK Chair and head of WBD's senior management group overseeing responsible business activity across the firm, comments:
"From waste and business travel through to building emissions, the legal sector must act now to reduce its carbon footprint as we embark on a decade of climate action. Systemic change takes time, but here at WBD we want to be at the forefront of the progress made and are working hard to make sure that good intentions are met with strong and tangible commitments.
"Developing and stretching our environmental targets is core to our business and announcing our Carbon Reduction Plan this week is a major step on our roadmap to achieving net zero emissions by 2030. I acknowledge that this is a challenging target but I want WBD to play its part in a cleaner and greener future for all and we will continue, as we always have, to work collaboratively with our people, clients and suppliers so we can consistently measure, report and reduce our impact on the environment and all take positive action on climate change.
WBD's continuous improvement to its environmental performance was recently recognised by EcoVadis, the world’s largest provider of business sustainability ratings, as well as The Planet Mark which awarded WBD its fourth consecutive accreditation. The firm also holds the ISO14001 International Standard in Environmental Management and is a founding member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, an inclusive movement of law firms working collaboratively to take positive action on climate change.
The firm already takes a number of practical measures to reduce emissions and waste in its UK locations including a major campaign to help eradicate all plastics across its offices, installing LED lighting, refiltering mains water for consumption, and investing in new video conferencing technologies to limit travel.
WBD also won the award for sustainability at the 2020 LexisNexis Awards and is shortlisted at the 2021 Planet Mark Awards in the Employee Engagement category
All offices to use
renewably sourced energy by 2026.
Reducing emissions associated with travel by
Reducing paper consumption by
The firm also recently reported a
decrease in emissions.