Southampton-based international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has become the first law firm to join The Solent Cluster, the first major decarbonisation initiative to substantially reduce CO2 emissions across the Solent and Southern England, aiming to make a major contribution in the UK's move to achieve Net Zero by 2050.

Launched in November 2022, The Solent Cluster is a cross-sector collaboration of international organisations, including manufacturers and engineering companies, regional business and industries, leading logistics and infrastructure operators and academic institutions, with decades of proven expertise in carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen technology.

WBD is the first law firm to join the initiative, which already has over 55 organisations signed up and has the potential to secure existing jobs and produce low-carbon fuels for sectors including maritime and aviation, as well as providing energy to heat homes, businesses and public buildings. The effort could position the Solent at the centre of low carbon fuel production in the UK capturing approximately three million metric tonnes of CO2 every year.

Jo Beattie-Edwards, energy partner in WBD's Southampton office, said: "We're proud to be the first law firm to join The Solent Cluster. WBD's energy team has been immersed in the energy sector for decades, giving us deep sectoral knowledge and wide ranging experience. As a firm leading the way on green change and advising a wide range of clients on the delivery of clean and innovative energy projects in the UK and across the globe, we look forward to contributing to The Solent Cluster as a member, sharing our expertise, and building on the huge progress already made."

Carbon reduction is a key pillar in WBD's ESG strategy with firmwide endeavours to reduce emissions and lead action on a sustainable transition in the industry. The firm, which was amongst the first in the UK legal profession to announce its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, procures renewable energy in four of its eight UK offices, with nearly 80% of the electricity used coming from renewable sources.

A founding and executive member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, WBD received a gold rating from EcoVadis, the world’s largest provider of business sustainability ratings, and recently was included in the inaugural Legal 500 Green Guide as one of the top law firms leading the way on climate change.

The Solent Cluster