Ashurst announces Sustainability Goals

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    "Sustainability is a journey, and it requires us to be open, honest and transparent," Global ESG and sustainability partner Anna-Marie Slot said. "Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework and guide, we have identified key areas of change across three pillars: how we engage with clients, who we are as a firm and how we give value to the communities in which we operate.

    "Our Sustainability Goals chart a quantifiable path for the firm to continue to build on its culture of sustainability focused on helping clients capitalise on opportunities from the transition, progressing our journey to Net Zero and increasing our pro bono and social impact."

    As a global firm Ashurst has been certified carbon neutral since January 1 2020, with the firm having engaged environmental consultants Natural Capital Partners to establish an offset project programme. Staff were then asked to have their say on what types of projects the firm should support with options which included agricultural, forestry & landscape, renewable energy, water, household devices and resource recovery. All projects are located outside areas of the firm's major offices to ensure investment is made in areas of the world on the front lines of the effects of climate change. 

    The foundation of Ashurst's Sustainability Goals and therefore its path to Net Zero is the Carbon Neutrality plan, which sets out a roadmap including initial reduction goals for the firm to achieve by 2023 (as against 2019 levels) including:

    • 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from travel;
    • 30% reduction in paper usage; and
    • 20% improvement in water, utility and energy usage efficiencies.

    Alongside this, the firm will integrate other measures including eliminating single use plastics, and focus on the 'S' of ESG through promoting agile and remote working.

    Anna-Marie Slot added that the Sustainability Goals also capture how the firm engages with clients in the transformation of business ecosystems to integrate ESG considerations as a business imperative. 

    "Every business is in a different position and as advisors to our clients it is our responsibility to support them on their sustainability journey. This includes focusing on areas including the energy transition, infrastructure and real estate, regulatory change and sustainable finance  - areas which are critical to turning the global dial to meet sustainability commitments, and where the firm has extensive expertise."

    The firm also integrates communities into the Sustainability Goals recognising the firm's role as a corporate citizen. This strand is led by Global Pro Bono and Social Impact Partner, Sarah Morton-Ramwell, and is shaped by the pro bono and social impact teams. The firm supports young people in their education and career journeys, by opening up access to Ashurst and the broader legal profession and positively impacting the lives of First Nations young people, and young people experiencing marginalisation, disadvantage, financial exclusion and/or hardship. Additionally, there is a focus on addressing access to justice gaps through pro bono partnerships with not-for-profits, front line service organisations and community legal centres through initiatives such as the firm's Law Reform Project and Ashurst's four global pro bono focus areas - citizenship & displacement, modern slavery, gender rights and racial injustice. Further, the firm is working to eradicate all forms of modern slavery through a committed action plan, critically examining all aspects of modern slavery to understand where the firm can best play a role and actively contributing to sustainable solutions to end modern slavery. Ashurst also launched its Modern Slavery Action plan in October 2020.

    "Sustainability is a critically important strategic business issue for Ashurst and our clients and our continued improvement in this area is a key aspect of the firm's strategy," global managing partner Paul Jenkins said. "Transparency and accountability are a significant part of this, and we are very pleased to be publicly acknowledging the journey we are on and the progress we have already made. We are committed to continuing to build a culture of sustainability, which is how we ensure that we deliver extraordinary outcomes for our people and our clients."  

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