Responsible business practices
Freshfields is guided by the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact – the first international law firm to participate - and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These universal principles make responsibility a shared duty, encouraging all businesses to align strategies and operations, and provide a framework to advance societal goals. The latest report can be viewed here.
We are committed to embrace, support and enact, within our sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption .
We work closely with our clients on human rights issues, helping them to integrate the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into their business relationships. For more information, see our practice overview and read our sustainability and human rights blog.
We look to combat modern slavery in all its forms, uphold the protection of human rights and manage our supply chain responsibly. Our working practices globally are overseen by a multidisciplinary Modern Slavery Working Group, which includes two external members to ensure transparency. Our 2019 Modern Slavery Statement can be found here.
To manage the ethical, social and environmental impact of our supply chain, we have both a global procurement policy and responsible business procurement guidelines. These are informed by the principles of the UN Global Compact and outline what we expect from our suppliers.
We train our employees with procurement responsibilities in responsible procurement. We also have a responsible procurement questionnaire that we ask our suppliers to complete. The procurement process applies to everyone working on behalf of the firm (including all partners, staff and contractors) with responsibility for buying goods and services from third-party suppliers. It covers all our offices and projects, although in some cases there may be local variations to take account of different market requirements.
A responsible working environment
We expect the highest standards of our people and are committed to providing a safe and supportive workplace where all can thrive. How we work together and behave towards one another is guided by our internal behavioural principles, ‘Being Freshfields’, to ensure a culture of respect, openness and mutual support which goes hand in hand with our approach to diversity and inclusion and mental wellbeing.
Our global HR policies around sexual harassment, bullying and other misconduct support this culture. We encourage our people to speak up if they experience or witness behaviour that is not in keeping with our culture and have a global speaking up policy. We also have established a Conduct Committee to ensure that we deal with conduct matters relating to partners in a robust, transparent and globally consistent way