Osborne Clarke is committed to being an environmentally sustainable business and has embedded principles and operational frameworks to achieve this, including those summarised below. Osborne Clarke's Sustainable Business Group (SBG), headed by environmental and renewable energy partner Alan John, has been working to minimise Osborne Clarke's impact on the environment in the way we do business by reducing the firm's carbon footprint, conserving our use of natural resources and encouraging sustainable behaviour and business practices for over 15 years. The SBG comprises enthusiastic staff volunteers from across the firm. Alan reports to meetings of Osborne Clarke's Executive Board and compiles a summary of SBG achievements for the firm's annual management report. Osborne Clarke is a member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance (LSA) and an active member of the local LSA group. The LSA is an inclusive movement of legal firms and organisations committed to working collaboratively to take action to improve the environmental sustainability of their operations and activities, for example Osborne Clarke measures, manages and reduces the impact of our operations and integrates awareness of climate change across the business.
Osborne Clarke aims to enhance our working environment and improve environmental performance by:
- Understanding our environmental impact: for several years Osborne Clarke has engaged external consultants to carry out an annual carbon report across our UK offices, using criteria from the LSA's carbon reporting protocol. The reports show improvements in a number of key areas and provide recommendations for further reductions in our carbon footprint for the SBG to help implement. l Employing the practice of 'reduce, re-use and recycle' wherever practicable: we have established wide-ranging recycling schemes across our offices.
- Minimising energy use: Osborne Clarke has implemented various energy saving measures including phased reduction of air-conditioning operating periods, the installation of a state-of-the-art remotely controlled energy management system and the deployment of low energy light bulbs and efficient hot water 'Zip hydrotaps'.
- Considering sustainability issues relating to the purchase of products and services: Osborne Clarke sources products and services that minimise environmental impacts and includes sustainability criteria in our choice of key suppliers.
- Encouraging environmentally friendly forms of travel: Osborne Clarke promotes a "Cycle to Work" scheme, participates annually in the local regional "Big Commuting Challenge" event and facilitates the use of 'Santander cycles' for our London office staff.
- The SBG – the group runs and promotes sustainability events (for example to mark World Environment Day) and initiatives throughout the year. Ongoing initiatives include an air quality monitoring project in our Bristol office, creating a green space to encourage biodiversity on our sixth floor London office balcony, working to minimise office catering waste and carrying out feasibility studies for electric vehicle charging points in our Bristol office.
- Biodiversity/wildlife – in 2015 the SBG installed a bee hive on the fourth floor terrace of our Bristol office. The following year, we added bee-friendly plants in tubs and containers to the terrace and in 2017 the first honey was produced (which was sold to staff with all proceeds being donated to charity).
- The allotment and wildflower meadow – in 2016 the SBG cleared an unused area of land next to our Bristol office car park and installed raised beds to grow vegetables. The allotment's soil is enhanced with compost created from Osborne Clarke food waste and the area has been extended to create an adjacent urban wildflower meadow.