Law firm Slaughter and May's carbon goals approved by SBTi

Legal giant Slaughter and May has confirmed that a goal to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) as aligned to the 1.5C ambition of the Paris Agreement.

During the last 10 years, the firm has reduced the absolute carbon emissions associated with its energy use by 63%

During the last 10 years, the firm has reduced the absolute carbon emissions associated with its energy use by 63%

Slaughter and May unveiled the commitment, which covers Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, last year. The target commits to halving emissions by 2030 against a 2018 baseline.

The targets have now been approved by the SBTi as aligned to the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement and would also put the company on a trajectory to deliver net-zero emissions by 2042.

Slaughter and May partner, Jeff Twentyman, and co-chair of the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development said: “I am proud that the firm has not only made this commitment, but that we are the first law firm to have our targets approved, our work now has a really clear focus and ambition. As signatories to the Paris Pledge for Action, we are committed to setting science-based targets in line with the reductions required to limit global temperature increase to 1.5ºC. As an organisation, we have already made large reductions in our carbon footprint over the last few years, and this is the next logical step.

“We are all facing a very challenging time at the moment; the COVID-19 crisis is fundamentally a human tragedy, but has also brought into sharp relief the extreme impact that humans have on the planet. A great deal of work has been put into getting to where we are now, and we are keen that this is continued. Achieving these targets will be challenging. Despite the other difficulties that we face, it is vital that we don’t lose momentum.’’

During the last 10 years, the firm has reduced the absolute carbon emissions associated with its energy use by 63%.

Slaughter and May has become the first law firm to have its targets approved by the SBTi. The company was also the first law firm to join the Climate Group’s RE100 commitment to sourcing 100% of its global electricity needs from renewables.

Last month, fellow law firm CMS UK unveiled a net-zero strategy, with the target date set for 2025.

The law firm has spent the last year measuring its greenhouse gas emissions across its global jurisdictions and international offices will also be covered by the target.

CMS has set science-based targets to reduce emissions by 30% by 2025 and then 50% by 2030 across operational and supply chain emissions. The firm has confirmed it will offset remaining emissions to reach net-zero but will explore going beyond net-zero and addressing its historical carbon debt.

While offsets will be used, reduction is still the main driver of the ambition. Seven of the firm’s eight UK offices now run on 100% renewable electricity and a mobile app will be launched to help more than 3,200 of its staff assess and act on their own carbon footprints.

Matt Mace



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