Being amongst the first law firms in the UK to announce its commitment, WBD launched its Carbon Reduction Plan this week 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 using 100% renewably sourced energy in all of its offices by 2026, and reducing emissions associated with travel by 50% by 2026. This is supported by the firm’s hybrid working model which launched in September to enable people to choose where they want to work.
By 2026, the firm plans to reduce paper consumption by 60%, increase the percentage of recycled waste across all offices, reduce plastic consumption at all WBD locations, and set a minimum standard for EPCs in buildings through acquisitions, refurbishments and BREEAM Sustainability Assessment Methods.
WBD also plans to work in partnership with its supply chain to share best practice, “collaboratively meet the challenges of net zero”, and further the scope and extent of its carbon emissions reporting.
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. As WBD moved to home working during the pandemic, the firm recently reported a 39% decrease in emissions compared to the previous year, as well as a 97% drop in business travel.
WBD currently takes a number of practical measures to reduce emissions and waste in its UK locations. This includes a 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.
Nick Barwood, UK chair and head of WBD’s senior management group, said: “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.”
He added: “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.”