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Shoosmiths stays focused on its net zero emissions aspiration

Leading UK law firm Shoosmiths has taken strides towards its goal for its operations to reach net zero by 2025 with the release of its 20/21 carbon footprint.

Shoosmiths is committed to a net zero emissions future with a target for its operations to achieve net zero emissions by 2025 and a commitment made to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to set science-based emissions reduction targets across the entire value chain that are consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 
 
Shoosmiths now procures 100% renewable electricity at five of its offices. To account for this renewable electricity, Shoosmiths’ scope 2 (market-based) emissions are reported for the first time in addition to scope 2 (location-based) emissions which Shoosmiths has reported previously. 

Shoosmiths’ 2020/2021 carbon footprint:

  • 4,555 tonnes CO₂e [Scope 1, Scope 2 (Location-Based), Scope 3],
  • 4,218 tonnes CO₂e [Scope 1, Scope 2 (Market-Based), Scope 3].
For the first time Shoosmiths also included home working emissions to reflect colleagues predominantly working from home, due to COVID-19 restrictions, and purchased goods and services as part of its scope 3 calculations.
 
As with most service-based companies, with relatively low operational emissions (situated in the UK and office-based services), purchased goods and services are by far the largest emission source. In addition, this year the purchased goods and services calculation has been based almost entirely on spend data estimations, utilising the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol’s Scope 3 Evaluator tool, and the estimation is considered to be conservative. With increased supplier engagement, our aim is to increase the use of primary/secondary data next year which is likely to decrease the purchased goods and services figure.
 
Shoosmiths’ scope 1 and 2 emissions have decreased in 2020/2021 compared to our 2019/2020 reporting period. Scope 1 (combustion of natural gas and diesel, refrigerants and leased vehicles) emissions reduced by 35% and our scope 2 (location-based) emissions reduced by 18% in 2020/2021 compared to 2019/2020. Accounting for the GHG emissions savings from our renewable electricity procurement, our scope 2 (market-based emissions) were 60% lower than our scope 2 (location-based) emissions.

During the year a number of initiatives were carried out including:
 
  • Shoosmiths appointed Cushman & Wakefield to carry out a strategic review of its property portfolio in line with its key business drivers including Shoosmiths’ operations becoming net zero by 2025. 
  • introducing a new online booking travel platform which will deliver a number of benefits including environmental information such as carbon emissions associated with travel options. 
  • launching our sustainable travel policy including the provision of guidelines on how to travel in a safe, cost effective and sustainable way, challenging the need for travel, encouraging a one day a week no travel approach and plans for internal carbon pricing associated with business flight bookings.
  • partnering with the Woodland Trust to support its Young People’s Forest tree planting project at Mead, near Heanor in the East Midlands. The tree planting commitment commemorated Shoosmiths’ 175th anniversary and will also be registered under the Woodland Carbon Code, the UK’s voluntary carbon standard for woodland projects. The Code is aligned with the core requirements of other voluntary forest carbon standards and the Kyoto Protocol. It provides reassurance about the carbon savings that woodland projects may realistically achieve. With our planned 2,275 trees, it is estimated that approximately 570 tonnes of carbon will be absorbed over 100 years. 

Shoosmiths Chairperson, Peter Duff, said: 

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During the year Shoosmiths has remained focused on its net zero emissions aspirations including broadening the boundary of its carbon footprint reporting to capture additional scope 3 emissions. In such a difficult year, I am proud that the firm has continued to move forward in such a critical subject.  Our priorities in 2021/2022 include submitting proposed science-based emissions reduction targets to the SBTi for validation, engaging with our supply chain, and undertaking a review of our longer-term plans beyond 2025.

Peter Duff, Chairperson

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

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