Corporate responsibility in the UK

We have always taken the view that the firm has a responsibility to the environment and think it's time to do even more. Therefore, we have launched our new PLANET+ environmental commitment (environmental policy).

Our environmental vision: Gowling WLG (UK) wants to be a beacon of environmental sustainability.

Our main environmental impacts: Operational activities and services associated with our two UK offices and 1,200+ occupants interact with the environment in different ways. The largest and most obvious impacts link to:

  • Energy for buildings and business travel - leading to carbon emissions (climate change) and other pollutants
  • Purchase of goods/services and discarding of 'waste' - depleting natural resources and accumulating hazardous substances

This commitment (policy statement) outlines our direction of travel for tackling direct negative impacts, enhancing positive ones and dealing with those where we have less control (indirect). It supports our ambitious vision for the business, and our values.

The challenge: An important starting point is to acknowledge the complexity and enormity of the environmental pressures on people, biodiversity and the planet. Achieving meaningful change can be difficult - and environmental issues and practices are subject to local and international political change; far reaching social and economic pressures; and technological progress. Whilst changes in the wider world can present risks, there are also real opportunities for the environment, for the business and for our clients - and we will focus on where we can make a positive difference.

PLANET+ goals 2030: We have adopted six goals that reflect the nature and scale of the challenge and the areas in which we can make a real impact. They are stretching - and our plans to meet the goals will evolve over time - but we are committed to take a lead as a business, and to engage everyone in the firm. The goals...

Zero carbon Zero waste Everyone plays a part All hazardous substances avoided Our clients engaged Work with suppliers who share our goals

The tools: We are drawing from the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and related science and research, to set our destination (PLANET+ goals) and shape our action plans, with international standards ISO14001:2015 (environmental management) and ISO50001:2011 (energy) guiding the way. It is through colleagues, clients, on-site contractors, other suppliers and competitors where the greatest opportunities to make a real difference lie. Listening, tapping into our talent, sharing ideas and bringing everyone with us, is how these stretching goals become achievable over time.

"Our PLANET+ goals are integral to our aspirations for the firm and our values and I and the Board are fully behind them"
David Fennell, CEO 2017

Other must dos: In support of these goals we will also look to:

  • Avoid pollution
  • Continually advance energy and environmental protection and performance
  • Meet (and exceed where we can) environmental compliance obligations
  • Commit resources to support our PLANET+ goals
  • Procure goods/services with energy and environment at front of mind
  • Make environmental data and information available to all who need it
  • Develop guidance to explain our goals and commitments
  • Share what we do and how we do it - promoting best practice
  • Report progress openly and honestly - and act if we go off course from our goals
  • Embed good environmental practices across the organisation and at all levels

You can download a copy of our PLANET+ environmental statement.

If you would like to know more about our environmental programme in the UK please contact fiona.nicholls@gowlingwlg.com.