Shepherd and Wedderburn, the largest Scottish-headquartered UK law firm, has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and signed the Edinburgh Climate Compact.
The firm, which has been at the forefront of innovation in the clean energy sector for almost three decades, has adopted an enhanced sustainability strategy, underpinned by a ‘route map’ focused on reducing its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Reporting Standard.
Shepherd and Wedderburn has also joined a number of leading private and public sector organisations in signing up to a series of decarbonisation commitments as part of the Edinburgh Climate Compact to support the city’s ambition to reach net zero by 2030. Other signatories include NatWest Group, NHS Lothian, Robertson Group, The City of Edinburgh Council, The University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. Shepherd and Wedderburn is the first professional services firm to have committed to the Edinburgh Climate Compact.
The firm will be integrating sustainability considerations into all its business decisions and will report its greenhouse gas emissions and progress against its net zero target at least annually, using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Reporting Standard methodology. The protocol classifies an organisation’s greenhouse gas emissions into three scopes: Scope 1 (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources); Scope 2 (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy); and Scope 3 (all indirect emissions from the value chain – from the goods an organisation purchases to the disposal of the products it sells or services it provides).
Shepherd and Wedderburn’s enhanced sustainability policy is informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and is aligned to those of the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, which have committed to becoming net zero by 2030, and London, which has set out its ambition to be net zero by the same date. The policy covers three core areas – the firm’s business, its people and its clients – and commits Shepherd and Wedderburn to comply with, and exceed where practicable, all applicable environmental legislation, regulations and codes of practice. The firm will promote, through training and engagement, a more sustainable mindset among colleagues, and will work with clients to promote sustainable decisions and practices in order to help mutually facilitate the transition to net zero. In terms of its own operations, the firm will focus initially on reducing energy consumption; materials use (including, but not limited to, stationery, printing and packaging); waste production; and travel.
Andrew Blain, the firm’s Managing Partner, said: “Having already made significant inroads during our journey to net zero, we are committed to further reducing our carbon footprint and to working with our colleagues, clients, suppliers, and other third parties to that end.
“Our firm has been at the forefront of innovation in the clean energy sector for almost 30 years. As a lead adviser in this sector, we understand the existential threat posed by climate change and, while we are working hard with clients to develop more clean energy projects in the transition to a net zero future, we believe it is also our responsibility to lead by example in protecting and nurturing the natural environment.
“We are committed to being the most sustainable business we can be because it is the right thing to do. We have all benefited from the natural environment and have an ethical obligation to make a tangible, positive contribution to tackling the climate emergency, for the sake of current and future generations.”
Shepherd and Wedderburn’s market-leading Clean Energy Group, which comprises 90 lawyers, has advised on landmark clean energy projects across the UK and is ranked top tier in both the leading independent legal directories.
Clare Foster, the firm’s Head of Clean Energy, is also a Board member of RenewableUK and a Commissioner on the Edinburgh Climate Commission. Clare commented: “We are proud to sign up to the Edinburgh Climate Compact, a historic and unique initiative that aims to spark radical action on climate change across the Scottish capital. The determination of the signatories – leading organisations spanning both the public and private sectors – to make a collective difference represents a key step forward in ensuring that sustainable business practice becomes the ‘new normal’.
“Shepherd and Wedderburn is committed to supporting a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shone an intense light on the fragility and inequalities of many aspects of society. Our focus is on supporting a green recovery to rebuild the economy, ensuring it has sustainability and resilience at its heart.
“As host nation for COP26, this is a hugely exciting time for Scotland and the UK. The green recovery is the anchor we hope will galvanise the whole country to lead the way. If we all work together, which will require effective collaboration among the public and private sectors and citizens of the UK, we will make an enormous difference.”