Osborne Clarke Pledges Science-Based Net-Zero by 2040

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_Osborne Clarke's Halo office
Image of Osborne Clarke's Halo office

Osborne Clarke, a prominent global law firm, has recently announced its ambitious long-term goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

This commitment places the company among the few UK firms that have aligned themselves with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Net Zero Standard.

By adopting the SBTi Net Zero Standard, Osborne Clarke aims to achieve a minimum 90% reduction against the 2019–20 baseline by 2040. To address any remaining emissions, the firm plans to purchase removal credits.

Just a year ago, Osborne Clarke unveiled its near-term target of a 50% emissions reduction across all scopes by 2030. By doing so, the company also joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C and UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign. In October 2022, the near-term target received validation from the SBTi.

Notably, Osborne Clarke committed to submitting a long-term target aligned with the SBTi standard within 24 months of its near-term target validation. Remarkably, the firm has achieved this milestone in just 12 months, setting an accelerated target of 2040, a decade ahead of the original 2050 objective.

Conrad Davies, the UK Managing Partner of Osborne Clarke, expressed pride in the ambitious target set by the firm. He emphasised the importance of holding themselves accountable and acknowledged that the original 2050 deadline did not reflect the firm's true potential. By bringing forward the long-term carbon reduction target by ten years and achieving it ahead of schedule, Osborne Clarke demonstrates its dedication to achieving net-zero and aligning its business commitments with those made to its clients.

Since committing to science-based targets, Osborne Clarke has taken significant steps to address its emissions sources. This includes conducting a supplier engagement audit and a strategic review of procurement practices. The firm's recent move to the sustainable Halo office in Bristol further showcases its commitment to sustainability. The building incorporates features like solar PV, rainwater harvesting, advanced plant and controls, and connects to the city's low-carbon district heat network for heating.

Osborne Clarke's contributions to the field of sustainability have been recognised in the Legal 500 UK Green Guide 2022. The firm, along with its teams in Poland and Italy, is featured for its work in areas such as renewable energy, sustainable finance, and implementation of ESG policy.

The report highlights the efforts of Osborne Clarke Planet, the employee-led sustainable business group, as well as the firm's partnership with the Avon Wildlife Trust. Additionally, Osborne Clarke is among the 60 signatory companies of the Greener Litigation Pledge and actively takes measures to minimise its environmental impact.

Osborne Clarke manages its sustainability commitments through the Osborne Clarke for Good framework, which outlines the firm's responsible business approach and published its inaugural report in 2022.

It collaborates with clients and prospects who share their ambition to achieve net-zero emissions. As part of this engagement, Osborne Clarke is proud to sponsor the Ecocity World Summit, an event focused on "Connecting Communities." The summit serves as a platform to challenge existing urban systems, policies, and priorities while inspiring action to meet crucial climate targets. This year's agenda covers various topics such as biodiversity, sustainable lifestyles, and healthy ecosystems. Osborne Clarke's partnership includes sponsoring the opening reception, during which Ian Wilkinson, the head of The Built Environment sector, will deliver a keynote speech.

In anticipation of COP27, the firm launched its inaugural Decarbonisation Week. The event series catered to businesses with ambitious carbon reduction goals. Osborne Clarke also sponsored World EV Day, a global campaign aimed at accelerating the adoption of zero-emission electric vehicles worldwide.

Furthermore, the firm is actively working towards establishing Science Based Targets across its international operations. Omar Al-Nuaimi, the International CEO, leads this project with the support of Osborne Clarke's international managing partners.

In the UK, the OC Zero project is spearheaded by a Sustainability Steering Group. The group comprises Executive Board sponsor Michelle McGurl, Head of ESG James Watson, Head of Environment & Sustainability Matthew Germain, Head of Inclusion & Corporate Responsibility Bola Gibson, Head of Osborne Clarke Solutions Dan Wright, and Sustainability Manager Mary Lavin.

Osborne Clarke boasts an international, multi-disciplinary, and cross-sector ESG team of experts. This team provides comprehensive advice to clients on developing and implementing their ESG strategies, enabling them to meet reporting and disclosure obligations. With extensive expertise across a wide range of ESG-related areas, the team assists clients in anticipating regulatory changes and adopting a strategic approach to evolving ESG legislation.

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Source: Osborne Clarke

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