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Protecting what’s precious

Our new environment strategy maintains the momentum of our progress and builds on over a decade of industry-leading environmental initiatives.

We have already achieved the five-year environmental targets we set in 2016, reducing carbon from energy by 22 per cent (against a 10 per cent target), reducing travel by 13.7 per cent (against a 10 per cent target) and reducing paper consumption by 40 per cent (against a 30 per cent target). Freshfields’ current ambitious global environmental targets are:

Reducing paper usage by 40% by 2025, cutting usage by more than 60% over the previous 10 years
Phasing out single-use plastics in all offices by the end of 2022
Reducing carbon from business travel by 30% by 2025
Every office powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2030

Our new London office at 100 Bishopsgate has an environmental and energy management system that is ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 certified. Other offices are implementing their own approaches to environmental management within their facilities, following the recommendations of an internal Green Guide.

We calculate and make publicly available our annual carbon footprint and report annually to CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project).

Freshfields has been committed to carbon neutrality since 2007, and since 2015 has done so through a 10-year investment in the Reforestation in East Africa Programme (REAP). Freshfields REAP is an innovative community forestry project that offsets our emissions and supports the livelihoods of around 8,800 small-scale farmers, while restoring the environment in Kenya and Uganda. Our employees in every office can also choose to offset their own non-work-related carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits through REAP.

We have recently committed to a number of external initiatives, including the Greener Arbitration Pledge, a commitment to minimise the environmental impact of international arbitration cases. We will also set UN supported science-based targets over the next 12 months, giving us a clearly defined pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

To further support the delivery of our environmental strategy, we have launched a Global Green Group, an employee-led network which will help bring together the successful green initiatives already taking place across the firm at a local and individual level, as well as encourage broader participation.

But we are also aware that as a professional services organisation, our own footprint is not where we can have the greatest impact. This is why we are keen to contribute to global emissions reductions through targeted collaborations, either by joining leading climate initiatives or by bringing together influential organisations to help develop the necessary innovative thinking to tackle climate change, such as the Freshfields-led New York Circular City Initiative.

Finally, we believe our greatest impact is through our clients. As their long-term trusted advisers, we have a critical role to play in helping them manage the transition to a low-carbon future and helping them future-proof their business from climate risk. We support clients directly through our thought leadership and our regulatory, transactions and disputes advice, which focuses on climate changesustainable financecorporate governance and human rights.