Today Baker McKenzie announces a plan to significantly reduce its global carbon emissions over the next decade. The reductions are part of the Firm’s wider sustainability strategy and support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Firm commits:
- To reduce its emissions from energy consumption* by 92% by 2030 (from a 2019 baseline)
- To develop a strategy and target by 2021 to lower emissions from its business air travel; and
- To report its emissions with the Carbon Disclosure Project starting in 2020.
“Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity,” says Global Executive Committee member Ai Ai Wong who is also Chair of the Firm’s Asia Pacific Region and the Global Environmental Committee. “Limiting warming requires everyone – including Baker McKenzie — to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, without delay. We are setting targets to drive better environmental performance across our global operations, and to clearly demonstrate our commitment.”
“These targets are part of the Firm’s continuing effort to integrate sustainability meaningfully into our strategy and operations,” added Christie Constantine, Baker McKenzie’s Global Director of Sustainability.
“Climate change is a priority and a concern for many people at our Firm, as well as for our clients and the communities where we do business. Our various stakeholders want to know that we are part of the solution.” Constantine, who has been with Baker McKenzie since 2013, was appointed to the newly created Global Director of Sustainability role earlier this year, reflecting the Firm’s commitment to sustainability.
Last year, the Firm launched a refreshed global sustainability strategy, centered on the environmental, economic, social and governance issues most material to the Firm as identified by more than 1400 stakeholders. Additionally, Baker McKenzie has prioritized a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals linked to these issues which it will focus on over the next ten years. This includes Goal 7 (clean and affordable energy); Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production); and Goal 13 (climate action).
The Firm plans to lower its energy consumption through improvements in the energy efficiency of its offices (including a shift to green buildings over time), as well as via procurement of renewable energy credits.
With respect to business air travel, which is the Firm’s biggest emissions source, in addition to lessening non essential travel, Baker McKenzie will assess investments in enhanced video conferencing technology and redesign key meetings and events to make virtual attendance viable. The Firm currently offsets all business air travel associated with its annual and regional partners meetings, using offsets that provide social benefits in addition to carbon abatement, such as reducing poverty, improving health, empowering women, job creation, or other benefits to local communities.
The new targets build on successive efforts by the Firm to make its operations more environmentally sustainable in recent years. In 2017, Baker McKenzie launched B-Green, a program designed to help its offices around the world to “green” their operations. The program provides a road map for each office to follow, along with tools and guidance to help them measure, evaluate and incrementally improve their environmental performance.
The Firm also strives to contribute to environmental sustainability through strategic partnerships (for example, it was the first law firm to join both the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition); pro bono and community service initiatives; and through the work of its award winning Climate, Environment and Energy practice groups.
* This covers Baker McKenzie’s “scope 1 and scope 2” emissions. The Green House Gas (GHG) Protocol (the international standard for corporate emissions accounting and reporting which Baker has followed in its own emissions tracking and calculations) classifies emissions by so-called scopes, with scope 1 emissions being direct emissions from owned or controlled sources and scope 2 emissions being indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy.