UK law firms push for net zero with new initiative

updated on 13 November 2023

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Eight UK law firms have set ambitious net-zero goals as a part of the Net Zero Law Initiative, designed by Net Zero Now. Over the next five years, firms will aim to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% – an important step towards reducing the legal sector’s emissions and reaching net zero by 2050.

The Net Zero Law Initiative aims to work with firms to reduce emissions. The plan was created in collaboration with the legal sector and with input from academics, climate experts, Greener Litigation and the Law Society. The initiative uses the latest climate science, such as Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Science Based Targets Initiative, and aims to help firms reduce emissions, costs and increase engagement with tailored plans.

The eight firms, including Mills & Reeve LLPHill Dickinson LLP, Cripps and Mishcon de Reya LLP, will measure and report on their emissions using Net Zero Now’s platform. With recent increases in climate litigation works, Net Zero Now explains that it’s "now more essential than ever that law firms not only go net zero themselves, but are in the best position possible to advise their clients so they can do the same". The creation of a plan to reduce emissions in this sector is a significant step towards net zero. Net Zero Now calculated that if all UK law firms signed up, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by as much as 400,000 tonnes over five years.

Head of business development at Net Zero Now, David Rothera, said: “Law firms have a huge influence on the way we do business in the UK, advising senior leaders and influencing critical business decisions. By showing that they take the transition to a more planet-positive future seriously, these law firms are leading the way for the entire sector, and our wider economy, to take action.”

Firms involved in the initiative are researching different ways to achieve their emission goals. For example, Mills & Reeve is looking to implement on site energy generation. A senior sustainability manager at Mills & Reeve, Jessica Wilkes-Ball, said: “By being early adopters, we were given the opportunity to suggest positive amendments which will support and enhance personalised emissions reporting and a tailored reductions plan, and provide a universal pathway for all law firms to start their net-zero journey. Collaboration not competition is the only way in which we’ll achieve our collective goals of reaching net zero.”