Addleshaw Goddard has today released its first environmental report, containing a roadmap to achieve accredited carbon neutral status by 2024. The AG Environmental Report 2020 highlights the drastic 80% reduction in emissions achieved so far through a concerted Environmental Management System and sets out how the corporate law firm will achieve a net zero carbon footprint over the next four years.

Through a concerted 3 year programme of recycling, waste reduction, efficiency, energy-saving initiatives, re-purposing and communication, including office relocations to more energy efficient buildings, AG has already made some notable achievements, including 

  • Reducing co2e per employee by 80% from 4.5 to 0.9
  • Reducing plastics usage by 30% (97% for cups) and food wastage by 20%
  • Reducing paper use by 8 million sheets (49%)

and achieved ISO14001 accreditation. The report also shows how the implementation of an Environmental Management System has addressed the firm's direct and indirect impacts holistically, rather than offsetting carbon use.

Axel Koelsch, Addleshaw Goddard's Chief Operating Officer, said: "The driving principle of our environmental programme is resource minimisation by design. The climate emergency is a more existential long-term threat and even more complex challenge than COVID-19.

Resource efficiency and recycling are no longer enough. That is why we focus on fundamentally changing behaviours and processes to achieve carbon neutrality."

The report sets out the firm's plan to further reduce waste, cut down on travel-related emissions, and put "green thinking" at the heart of operational decisions. 

Managing partner John Joyce said: "We are doing this because it is the right thing to do. Every business has a part to play in helping achieve the net zero carbon target articulated in the Paris Agreement. Our clients also want to play their role and as a consequence they want to work with environmentally-responsible suppliers and advisers. 

"Reducing our waste so drastically without buying offsets has required some creative thinking – for example by incorporating confidential waste disposal with our records management provider we removed at a stroke the need for separate vehicles travelling to our offices, and for shredding lorries idling outside with their engines running for hours whilst the waste was shredded. 

"Some activities are immediate, like removing disposable plastics from our canteens, or centralising printing to reduce paper waste. Some required planning; like having new booking procedures and coaching for events partners on realistic attendance numbers to reduce food waste. 

"We are very proud of the progress we have made so far. We are on track to achieve our target of net zero carbon accreditation by 2024, but obviously there is still a lot of work to be done. 

In the meantime we are immensely proud that 80 of our lawyers have pledged their time to The Chancery Lane Project and are actively working with lawyers across the profession to articulate and draft contractual clauses and laws that will help drive the behaviours that will accelerate progress towards a net zero carbon target.