By placing sustainability at the heart of our business, we hope to be a preferred law firm partner for businesses and innovators working towards building a sustainable future. It is equally important to us that our commitment towards sustainability is internalized and embedded in our own operations.
Here we outline our decarbonization strategy which will be our roadmap to becoming a net zero carbon law firm. Our strategy has two principal objectives. To operate our business in the knowledge that our business activities will not contribute negatively to the climate crisis; and to support the decarbonization efforts of our clients and relieve some of their burden in tackling emissions from their supply chain by not contributing negatively to their Scope 3 emissions.
Building our Carbon Inventory
We cannot manage what we do not measure. The first step on our decarbonization journey is to develop our carbon inventory in order to assess our baseline scenario and understand how far we are from our target, so that we can devise appropriate measures to mitigate our emissions.
In preparing our carbon inventory, we have considered the guidelines stipulated in the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and its principles of relevance, completeness, consistency, transparency and accuracy. We have also conducted peer assessments and studied industry best practices (e.g. the prioritization of including material carbon emissions in the inventory and the considerations on double counting).
With reference to the guidance taken from the various sources mentioned above, in this first iteration we have set out to measure our emissions from the following activities arising from the operation of our law firm. These are activities where the necessary data is accessible and that will contribute materially to our carbon footprint.
(We do not own our own vehicle fleet nor have boilers or furnaces in our office building.)
- Office electricity consumption
- Employee commuting activity to/from office
- Paper consumption
- Employee business travel (where applicable)
As we are a new business we are not yet able to include in our carbon inventory certain Scope 3 emissions. For instance, we have not started to engage vendors in our supply chain (e.g. our outsourced IT support services and accounting services) in the collection of data on our share of their carbon footprint – this will be pursued shortly within the next 12 months. We are also currently unable to measure our carbon emissions from water sewage, as we are unable to obtain the necessary data from our property management company.
After establishing a clear understanding of our carbon emissions, we will then identify emissions reduction measures that we will adopt and set targets to guide our efforts in mitigating our climate impact.
Measures that we will adopt
We were conscious of our carbon footprint in the setting up of our law firm. This is why we put in place several measures to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible at the outset. This includes striving to become a paperless office, supporting flexible modes of working to reduce transportation emissions and encouraging team members to be mindful of the externalities of their habitual actions.
To achieve our ultimate goal of becoming a net zero carbon law firm, we will also implement the following measures:
- To identify and pursue energy efficiency improvements in our office where possible, including sourcing energy efficient equipment
- To source 100% renewable energy for our office electricity consumption through purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates or carbon credits generated from renewable energy projects
- To formulate a green procurement policy to guide our purchasing decisions
- To engage vendors and suppliers in tackling their climate impact
- To eliminate any remaining emissions that we cannot remove from our operations and supply chain through carbon offsets
Green Procurement Strategy
Our procurement decisions take into account our impact on climate change and our contribution towards the circular economy. To support our firm’s activities, we will assess the products we procure based on the following metrics:
- Energy efficiency
- Low embodied carbon content
- Whether it is made of recycled materials
- Whether the product itself is recyclable
- Biodiversity footprint
- The amount and degree of toxicity of substances released during a product’s installation, use and/or disposal
- Whether there are reusable alternatives for single-use disposable items
The services our firm procures to support our operations is also of importance to us. As our business becomes more developed, we aim to engage with our vendors and suppliers and encourage them to tackle their own climate impact in turn. We invite other professional services providers with similar ambitions to collaborate with us on these efforts so as to enhance our bargaining power vis-a-vis common vendors and suppliers.
Carbon Offsets Strategy
We are conscious of the controversy around the utility and effectiveness of carbon offsets as a tool to mitigate climate change. Our position is that we will employ carbon offsets in our decarbonization strategy as a measure of last resort and to eliminate any remaining emissions that we cannot remove from our operations and supply chain to achieve our target of net zero carbon emissions.
We will adopt a cautious approach in our selection of the carbon offsets that we will be investing in. Here are some of our selection criteria:
- We will only knowingly invest in high integrity carbon offsets consistent with the highest international standards. We may invest in carbon offsets to help accelerate the development of international best practices consistent with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets.
- We will look to primarily invest in carbon offsets that remove carbon from the atmosphere.
- One angle of looking at carbon offsets is that they can provide necessary funding to emissions reduction projects. We want to leverage the power of carbon offsets in expediting the development and/or commercialization of climate technology. Where we choose to select tech-based carbon offsets, the carbon offset should have a tech catalyst benefit.
- We strive to maximize the positive impacts of our investments. We aim to select carbon offsets that also bring about social and/or biodiversity co-benefits, such as supporting local communities and regenerative agriculture projects.
Our Immediate Target
A preliminary research we have conducted shows that the carbon emissions per capita of professional services providers who measure and disclose their carbon footprint is, on average, around 3.39 tCO2e. We will adopt this as a benchmark for our preliminary emissions reduction efforts and set this as a target for the upper limit of our gross greenhouse gas emissions arising from the first year of our firm’s operations.
Stay tuned for our Impact Reports
We will document our progress in our decarbonization journey in our Impact Report. Stay tuned to keep us accountable.