The firm has committed to a long-term carbon reduction target through the SBTi Net Zero standard, twelve months ahead of schedule

Osborne Clarke has announced its long-term science-based target, to reach net-zero emissions by 2040. It is one of only a few UK firms that have made similar commitments in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Net Zero Standard.

In line with the SBTi Net Zero Standard, this commitment means reaching at least a 90% reduction against the 2019-20 baseline year by 2040, and then purchasing removal credits for any residual emissions arising from the firm's activities.

Twelve months ago Osborne Clarke announced its near-term target to reduce emissions by 50% across all scopes by 2030. In doing so, the firm has also joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C and UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign. The near-term target was validated by the SBTi in October 2022.

The firm also pledged to submit a long-term target in line with the SBTi standard within 24 months of validation of its near-term target. Osborne Clarke has achieved this in 12 months, setting a long-term target of 2040, which is 10 years ahead of the original 2050 target.

"This is certainly an ambitious target and one we are very proud of"

Conrad Davies, Osborne Clarke's UK Managing Partner, commented: "This is certainly an ambitious target and one we are very proud of. In order to deliver for our clients we must first hold ourselves accountable, and we realise the original 2050 deadline was not reflective of what we can and should achieve. Bringing our long-term carbon reduction target forward by ten years, and delivering it twelve months ahead of schedule, demonstrates the dedication the firm has to achieving net-zero, and ensures the commitments we make to our clients are reflected in the commitments we make as a business."

Since announcing its commitment to science based targets last year, Osborne Clarke has undertaken a supplier engagement audit and a strategic review of procurement to help tackle its most significant emissions sources. The firm has also completed the move to its new Bristol office, Halo, which is designed to be one of the most sustainable office buildings in the UK. The building features solar PV, rainwater harvesting, state of the art plant and controls, and is connected to the city's district heat network for low carbon heating.

Osborne Clarke features in the Legal 500 UK Green Guide 2022, alongside its teams in Poland and Italy, for its work in areas including renewable energy, sustainable finance and implementation of ESG policy.

The work of its employee-led sustainable business group, Osborne Clarke Planet, was also cited in the report, along with the firm's longstanding partnership with the Avon Wildlife Trust. The firm is one of 60 signatory companies on the Greener Litigation Pledge and actively takes steps to reduce the environmental impact of its practice.

"In order to deliver for our clients we must first hold ourselves accountable, and we realise the original 2050 deadline was not reflective of what we can and should achieve"

The firm's sustainability commitments are managed through the Osborne Clarke for Good framework, which structures its approach to responsible business and published its first report in 2022.

Working closely with clients and prospects who are also striving to achieve net zero, the firm is sponsoring this year's Ecocity World Summit, themed around 'Connecting Communities'. The Summit aims to provide a forum to challenge existing urban systems, policies, and priorities, alongside inspiring all to take action to meet key climate targets. This year's programme includes topics such as biodiversity, new lifestyles and healthy ecosystems. Osborne Clarke's partnership includes the sponsorship of the opening reception in which Ian Wilkinson, head of The Built Environment sector, will deliver a keynote speech.

In the run up to COP27 last year, the firm launched its first Decarbonisation Week with a series of events targeted at businesses with ambitious carbon reduction goals. It also sponsored World EV Day - a global campaign established to accelerate the transition to zero emission electric vehicles around the world.

The firm is also currently working towards setting Science Based Targets across its international business. International CEO Omar Al-Nuaimi is leading that project with the support of OC's international managing partners.

In the UK, the OC Zero project is being driven by a Sustainability Steering Group, which includes Executive Board sponsor Michelle McGurl, Head of ESG James Watson, Head of Environment & Sustainability Matthew Germain, Head of Inclusion & Corporate Responsibility Bola Gibson, Head of Osborne Clarke Solutions Dan Wright and Sustainability Manager Mary Lavin.

Osborne Clarke's international, multi-disciplinary and cross-sector ESG team of experts advises clients holistically on the development and implementation of their ESG strategy, helping them to meet required reporting and disclosure obligations. The team possesses significant expertise across the wide range of ESG-related areas, helping clients anticipate regulatory changes and implement a strategic approach to the increasing legislation around ESG.

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