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Environment

Protecting what’s precious

Our industry-leading environmental initiatives and client work maintain the momentum of our ambitious sustainability goals.

Freshfields understands the need to address the challenges faced by increased demand on natural resources and the impact of climate change. By setting environmental targets in our firmwide operations, participating in global initiatives, and supporting clients through the green transition, we play a leading role in contributing to a more sustainable future.

As governments, policymakers, investors and businesses meet at COP27 to address the global measures needed to tackle the challenge of climate change, it is clear that progress through strong leadership and governance will be required. Whether it is through our work on finance, regulation, litigation or transactions, Freshfields remains committed to supporting its clients in turning sustainability pledges into action.

Our progress

We have made important and sustained progress against our global environmental targets, which are critical in ensuring accountability and transparency as we move towards becoming a more sustainable firm and reducing our carbon footprint.

Reducing paper usage by 40% by 2025, cutting usage by more than 60% over the previous 10 years
Phasing out single-use plastics in all offices by the end of 2022
Reducing carbon from business travel by 30% by 2025
Every office powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2030

We strive for the best possible environmental standards in all of our locations, with many of our offices having high sustainability ratings with BREEAM, SKA and LEED. Our 100 Bishopsgate London office was carefully planned to minimise our environmental impact.  With the help of our colleagues, single-use plastics remain in only a handful of our offices as we continue to phase them out.

Other offices are implementing bespoke approaches to environmental management within their facilities and have achieved a number of other environmental successes.

As part of our ongoing focus to reduce business travel and ensure a greener supply chain, we will also set UN supported science-based targets before the end of 2022. These targets will give us a clearly defined pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Our work

In collaboration with leading international organisations, community groups and our colleague-led networks, we have committed to a number of green initiatives that are helping to drive positive change.

Since 2015 Freshfields has offset its emissions through a 10-year investment in the award-winning Reforestation in East Africa Programme. Freshfields REAP, as it is known, helps fight the effects of climate change through reforestation and strengthens the livelihoods of over 35,000 farmers in Kenya and Uganda. Freshfields supports a portfolio of green projects around the world that adopt a variety of innovative approaches to empower communities and reduce greenhouse gases, including gas distribution leak reduction in Bangladesh, and Gyapa efficient cookstoves in Ghana.

We have committed to the Greener Arbitration Pledge, and the Greener Litigation Pledge, helping to minimise the environmental impact of international arbitration and dispute resolution cases. The Freshfields-led New York Circular City Initiative brings together a range of representatives from the public and private divide whose aim is to create a transformational circular economy, where obsolescence is designed out of goods and no waste is sent to landfill.

To further support our focus on responsible business practices, the employee-led Global Green Group brings colleagues together to collaborate, share best practice and promote green activities and community days.

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