Womble Bond Dickinson's story
The firm already uses renewable energy in five of its seven UK offices and was amongst the first law firms in the UK to announce its commitment to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2030. Its carbon reduction plan includes: all offices to use 100% renewably sourced energy by 2026; reducing emissions associated with travel by 50% by 2026; setting a minimum standard for EPCs in buildings; enhancing its already robust procurement strategy and working with its supply chain to share best practice; furthering the scope and extent of its carbon emissions reporting; reducing paper consumption by 60% by 2026; increasing the percentage of recycled waste across all offices; and reducing plastic consumption at all WBD locations.
WBD wants to play its part in a cleaner and greener future for all and works collaboratively with its people, clients and suppliers to consistently measure, report and reduce its impact on the environment. With this in mind, in November 2020, WBD reps launched its EnviroNovember calendar as a way to connect and engage with colleagues during the lockdown period.
The initiative centred on small prompts, challenges or actions for each day of November to get colleagues thinking about how they can be more sustainable and environmentally efficient from home during lockdown. There were 30 great ideas incorporated into the calendar to help drive sustainable actions. Ideas included: unplugging everything overnight, turning down central heating, changing to energy efficient lightbulbs, and reducing food waste. The aim of the calendar was to build awareness of the small changes everyone can make and to shift some of the focus towards the impact of activity whilst working from home and its correlation with CO2 emissions
In conjunction with others such as the Travelwest sustainable commuting survey, this engagement initiative helped further embed sustainability in the business. It has contributed to colleagues engaging more with sustainability, wanting to understand more about our environment and ask questions about broader issues and challenges, including scope 3 emissions and the race to Net Zero.
The Net Zero journey has raised awareness and involvement amongst colleagues and generated some real momentum, and helped clarify the individual measures they can take to help improve performance. WBD also shared the ideas with clients and other stakeholders via LinkedIn.
As it looks to this year’s EnviroNovember, WBD is eager to work on some of the lessons learned and build on the success from last year.
Image: Unsplash stock image, Steve Pancrate
Useful learnings from Womble Bond Dickinson
Listen to feedback and encourage ideas. We have a number of colleagues who are passionate about the continued environmental performance improvement of the firm. We encourage our environmental representatives to share ideas, engage colleagues and help drive carbon reduction in our operations. The starting point was a discussion with our environmental reps and a challenge was presented; how do we engage colleagues in sustainability and carbon reduction whilst working remotely?
Involve the various stakeholder groups. In the case of this initiative, input from our environmental reps, HR, Business Development and CSR teams. All contributed fantastic ideas with the aim of enhancing the effectivness of the initiative and helping us directly reach as many colleagues as possible (and their network of family and friends indirectly).
Although a great success, looking back there are opportunities for improvement. Social media is a fantastic tool to maximise awareness, engagement and participation. This is something we have taken into this year's initiative to drive use of hashtags and social media platforms. The value here is the wider impact and reaching as many external stakeholders as possible to help broaden the impact of the initiative and help further reduce carbon emissions through small changes in our daily lives.
Womble Bond Dickinson's metrics
Decrease in business travel.