Corporate responsibility in the UK

The vision: To be a beacon of environmental sustainability.

Environmental impacts: Operational activities and services associated with the Firm's UK premises and 1,200+ colleagues interact with the environment in different ways.   The largest direct impacts are:

  • Carbon emissions from office energy use and corporate travel contributing to climate change and pollution
  • Purchase and consumption of goods / services and discarding of 'waste' depleting natural capital and accumulating hazardous substances

This environmental policy outlines how we are tackling direct negative impacts, enhancing positive ones, and addressing those where we have less control (indirect impacts) but an opportunity to influence.  Although environmental sustainability is a complex topic, with many factors completely out of our hands, we know that doing nothing (or too little) is not an option.

PLANET+ goals: The Firm has adopted six goals to achieve by 2030 that reflect the nature and scale of the problem and our sphere of influence. They are stretching – and plans to meet them will evolve over time and as progress is reviewed – but we are committed to taking a lead as a business. The goals…

Net zero carbon Zero avoidable waste Everyone plays a part Hazardous substances avoided Our clients engaged Suppliers that share our goals

The foundations of the PLANET+ strategy were laid during Phase 1 (2017 - 2020) and the current Phase 2 (2021 - 2025), led by a team of PLANET+ Ambassadors, will see a stepping up of ambitions towards achieving these goals.

The tools: The Sustainable Development Goals and related science are helping to shape our strategy and approach.  Signing up to the UN Global Compact and certification to management systems for quality (ISO9001), environment (ISO14001) and energy (ISO50001), are independent public ways we are holding ourselves to account. It is connections made with colleagues, clients, communities, suppliers and other influencers that will make our aspirational PLANET+ goals achievable over time.

"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 2021

Other must dos:

  • Avoid local pollution to preserve and enhance the environment
  • Meet (and exceed where we can) legal compliance obligations
  • Continually advance energy performance and reduce demand
  • Source renewable electricity in our control
  • Understand and mitigate the impacts of unavoidable climate change
  • Be resilient and considerately adapt to threats beyond our control
  • Enhance biodiversity wherever we can
  • Compensate for carbon emissions arising from flights deemed essential for the business
  • Procure and conserve with circular economy and broader sustainability principles in mind
  • Share lessons and knowledge to achieve even more
  • Report progress openly, honestly and authentically and act quickly if we go off course
  • Expand good environmental practice to all global Gowling WLG activities and teams

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