Our climate pledge and vision

The story behind our carbon footprint pledge

18 Jan 2021 - Estimated reading time: 4 mins

We’re proud and excited to launch our Climate Pledge, inspired by our ‘Together, building better futures’ purpose. It’s the perfect way to kick-off the firm’s one hundredth birthday celebrations.

The groundwork

Our carbon commitments are significant and ambitious, and certainly not undertaken lightly. They’re the culmination of more than a year’s work and consultation across the firm involving our equity and associate members, green champions, leadership teams and many more. All have endorsed our carbon reduction plans and - alongside everyone else in the firm - will play a key role in delivering them.  

We first teamed up with Enistic, our carbon management consultants to discuss our carbon reduction aspirations and objectives in 2019. Since then we’ve worked closely with them to understand and map our impact on the environment, to ensure we can accurately measure our carbon footprint and to develop our carbon reduction strategy.  It’s been challenging, enjoyable, educational and above all a steep learning curve; we couldn’t have done it without expert support.

Understanding and reducing our carbon footprint

We’re a consulting business with dispersed offices and clients across the UK and beyond. This means that travel (particularly domestic flights), commuting and energy make up the vast majority of our carbon footprint.

The baseline for our commitments is our 2019/20 carbon footprint of 1998 tonnes. We were able to make an immediate impact with certified renewable energy powering each of our offices, reducing our footprint by 357 tonnes. That leaves us over 660 tonnes of carbon to remove from our footprint by 2025. We expect a large proportion of that will come from reducing our travel, particularly by plane, and by switching from air to rail whenever possible when we do need to make a trip. Did you know that a train journey from Scotland to London has less than 20% of the carbon footprint of the equivalent journey by air?

One silver-lining of the covid pandemic is that it’s illustrated what we can achieve without travelling and commuting. We can’t wait to get back together with each other and with our clients. People, collaboration and relationships are what make our business, but we’re determined to also learn from the past year and to keep doing things more flexibly and smartly going forward.  We’ll also continue to address every other aspect of our footprint to help us deliver our ‘reduce by 50%’ commitment.

The role of carbon off-setting

The biggest impact we can have on the environment is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and therefore our carbon emissions. However, we also know that – for the foreseeable future at least – we’ll continue to have a carbon footprint, and this will need to be offset each year for us to reach our net zero carbon goal.  I’m delighted that the firm has also committed to offset our estimated lifetime carbon consumption by 2025, amounting to over 33,000 tonnes (a figure calculated with the help of Enistic).

An immediate goal is to identify the best way to do that. We’ll be using Gold Standard accreditation as our quality benchmark and will ensure that any off-setting schemes we use are fully verifiable, traceable and deliver additional benefits. Once our shortlisted options are agreed the plan is to involve our people to help select the projects that we support, while the firm has also pledged to help everyone in the business offset their own individual footprint by matching their contribution £ for £.

Only the end of the beginning…

We’ve come a long way already, but know the launch of our climate pledge is still just the beginning of our carbon reduction journey. The hard work starts now, and we hope to involve everyone connected with our firm – our people, clients, suppliers and friends – as we set out on a net zero future. Please join us and get involved! And finally, transparency and communication will be a key element of our mission; we’ll make sure we keep you informed along the way.

Thanks for reading, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

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