Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons is one of the first law firms to have its global 2040 net-zero target verified by the Science Based Targets initiative, as it doubles down on efforts to reduce its impact on climate change.
The validation of a net-zero target by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) provides a defined, long-term pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. The target includes direct emissions resulting from business operations, indirect emissions associated with the generation of purchased electricity, and all other indirect emissions across global supply chains (known as scope 1,2 and 3 emissions).
To deliver this commitment, at least 90% of the firm’s 2019 baseline emissions will be fully abated by 2040 at the latest.
The SBTi is a global organisation which defines and promotes best practice in emissions reductions and net-zero targets in line with climate science. Its Corporate Net-Zero standard launched in 2021 and is the world’s first framework for corporate net-zero target setting.
Head of Pinsent Masons’ climate and sustainability group, Michael Watson, said: “Defining our targets and getting them verified by the SBTi gives us a comprehensive 360-degree view of our business and how we can minimise our impact on the environment.
“The process of verification helps us get under the skin of our targets and define our strategy more meticulously. This is vital in ensuring we pursue our net zero ambitions effectively and authentically. 2040 strikes the right balance in our view between ambition and realism and is ahead of the Paris Agreement target date of 2050.”
The firm has made progress in reducing emissions in areas such as energy consumption, business travel and waste. Prior to the pandemic it achieved a 30% reduction in energy consumption across its UK offices – 10% higher and a year ahead of initial targets. Pinsent Masons engaged environmental consultants, WSP, to undertake a detailed audit of its entire greenhouse gas inventory to calculate its baseline global carbon footprint. These findings have been used to shape the firm’s target and its strategy on how it will be achieved. Practical solutions include the use of the Smart Buildings programme and Demand Side Response technology to optimise energy performance and also use the flexible load of premises to help balance the electricity grid. Furthermore, the firm now procures 100% of its energy for its offices in the UK and Ireland from renewable sources and has improved the reporting of emissions associated with business travel and the visibility of emissions.