Slaughter and May becomes first law firm to have science-based net-zero target validated under new corporate standard

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) validates the firm’s long term target to reduce emissions in line with climate science.

International law firm, Slaughter and May has become the first in the legal sector to receive validation from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its commitment to achieve both near and long-term decarbonisation targets. This means, in addition to its ambitious 2020 commitment to carbon reduction targets of 50% of emissions by 2030 from a 2018 base, the firm will now target a 90% absolute reduction of emissions by 2040.

These absolute reductions backed by SBTi have a tangible, science-based impact that effects real change in terms of the reduction of the firm’s global emissions, both from direct operations (Scope 1& 2 i.e. energy) and its indirect emissions (Scope 3 i.e. purchased goods and services, business travel, commuting, waste, water etc.).

SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard provides a common, robust, and science-based understanding of net-zero. It launched its Corporate Net-Zero Standard during COP26 as the world’s first framework for corporate net-zero target setting in line with climate science. The standard requires deep decarbonisation of 90-95% of emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Jill Hoseason, COO at Slaughter and May, said:

“It is great to see the firm taking a lead on decarbonising its business, setting ambitious science-based targets and making real changes to reduce our emissions. SBTi’s validation means a lot. It demonstrates to our people, our clients and our communities that we are on the right track towards meaningful net-zero.”

Jeff Twentyman, Partner and Head of Sustainability at Slaughter and May, said:

“We recognise we need to walk the talk in order to advise clients credibly on ESG matters. Transparent target setting helps us integrate sustainability so that it becomes part of our everyday culture and how we do business. This approach benefits clients too. It means our lawyers increasingly look at the world through a sustainability lens making them more effective at advising clients on their own transition journeys and able to spot opportunities for collaboration.”

  • The firm has committed to reduce its absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 Greenhouse Gas emissions by 50% by 2030 from a 2018 base year. At the end of the first reporting year it had made significant progress – having made a 17% reduction against our 4.2% target. It made further reductions during the 2020 reporting year, achieved in part as a result of the enforced changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 100% of the electricity in the firm’s London office is procured on a green tariff and we were the first law firm signatories to RE100.
  • The London office is also certified to the ISO 14001:2015 environmental standard and the ISO 50001:2018 energy management standard.
  • The firm has an informal network – ‘One Earth’ – for its employees to share ideas on how to implement more sustainable choices in everyday life.
  • The firm is a founding member of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance where it will be part of a sector-wide effort to use legal skills to act on climate change.