International law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has been recognised for its commitment to the ESG agenda after being named ESG Firm of the Year at the inaugural The Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Awards.

Launched to recognise the lawyers, law firms and in-house legal departments setting the pace in the North, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, The Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Awards celebrate the achievements of the legal profession over the last 18 months through in-depth independent research.

WBD has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to its environmental management. The firm is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030 and procures renewable energy in five of its seven UK offices, with nearly 80% of the electricity used across the UK coming from renewable sources.

In 2022, the firm unveiled its new eco-friendly Leeds office with significant updates to lighting and air conditioning to align with WBD's carbon reduction targets. Existing furniture was recycled and re-used where possible, with all other materials and new furniture specified from accredited sustainable suppliers. In Newcastle, the firm relocated to new premises at The Spark, part of The Helix development, a BREEAM Excellent building powered by the District Energy Centre. Its win at the Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Awards follows WBD's recognition in the Legal 500 UK Green guide for leading the way on climate change, governance, and sustainability.

As part of the firm's work under the 'social' sphere, WBD has an array of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Networks including WBD REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage), WBD Pride (LGBQT+), WBD Thrive (women's career development), Disability and Family, and was recently ranked 56th in Stonewall's Top 100 Employers list, which recognises exceptional employers who are committed to supporting their LGBTQ+ employees and clients. WBD also received the Gold Award in recognition of its initiatives to foster an inclusive and safe workplace for all its people and where everyone feel empowered to be their real selves.

The firm, which signed the Mindful Business Charter and launched its Menopause Champions initiative, was named one of the UK's leading employers for improving social mobility, ranking 41st in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2022. WBD was also awarded 'We Invest in People' gold accreditation by Investors in People.

In the governance landscape, WBD launched the Work in Confidence anonymous communication system to support a safe and respectful working environment as well as a sustainable procurement hub. It also created a new ESG framework and received a gold medal from EcoVadis for its sustainability program.

Charlotte von Sicard, Responsible Business Manager at Womble Bond Dickinson, commented:

"We're extremely proud to be recognised as a firm leading the way in ESG strategy. Womble Bond Dickinson is committed to creating better places to live, work and do business and we're delighted to be presented with this award. This latest success is testament to our team and the work we are doing to build sustainable practices within WBD."

The Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Awards winner