We recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure our business has a positive impact on the people, communities and environment around us.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is important to us. The success of our business relies upon our ability to attract, train and retain the best people. We support diversity throughout our business and make every effort to create and maintain an inclusive culture. We recognise our responsibilities in the community and encourage our people to engage in activities that better society and build trust in our local communities. As a forward-looking firm, we understand the importance of minimising our environmental impact. Therefore we are committed to facilitating environmentally friendly working practices by our people and in our offices.

The concept of CSR is in our opinion under developed in our profession. We don’t want to just do what is required like many other firms - but go above and beyond. We have built our business over 150 years by looking ahead and adapting and changing at the right times. Thinking about the future of our planet and society, being a good corporate citizen and doing our bit to make a difference is a high priority for the firm. Our recent rebrand was to capture what we believe is at the very heart of our firm – being forward-looking. To be a truly forward-looking firm, community must be at the very heart of our culture. We are at the beginning of an exciting journey to develop what we believe will be a vital community programme to deliver our CSR initiatives. Our Forward Community Programme covers the following key areas:

Inclusivity

Making sure that equality and diversity are celebrated. We want a firm that has diversity of thought, ideas and viewpoints and where all our people, regardless of their background, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation feel they belong. We have a number of initiatives running including being a member of IP Inclusive, supporting Women in IP through AIPLA and regular inclusivity columns in our magazine Forward, as well as many more planned. We also monitor our gender pay gap figures, even though we aren't legally required to do this yet. Read more about our inclusivity initiatives and a summary of our gender pay gap figures below.

Community

For us this means nurturing our people, helping everyone develop and contributing to the wider communities in which we operate as well as supporting worthy causes with time and money. As a firm we have made a commitment to donate 1% of our profits to charity as well as over 250 days of time to good causes. We support charities at a firmwide and local office level.

This year we have chosen to support Coronavirus related charities at a firmwide level and our people have chosen a local charity for each office. We have also given all our people one community day per year to enable them to support causes they care about. In addition we operate a Give As You Earn (GAYE) scheme so our people can donate to charities of their choice in a simple and tax effective way. Our combined community effort amounts to more than £130,000 of investment and over 250 days of time donated to good causes. Find out more below about our plans for charitable giving of both time and money.

Sustainability

We believe we must play our part in reducing the use of energy, lowering carbon emissions and reducing waste. We are in the process of completely redeveloping our approach to facilities management and bringing in new resources to look after the environmental areas of our Forward Community Programme and drive this area forward. We currently operate a paperless office and have done so for over a decade. We recycle of course, including our end of life electronics and have recently switched to cloud computing.

We try to be sustainable in our overall approach to our business and make sure the little things are considered, such as glass milk bottles rather than plastic and the ability to recycle any materials we produce. We have also recently reviewed the sustainability of our meeting rooms and as well as recycling our coffee capsules, our tea bags are biodegradable and our biscuits are organic and baked using renewable energy.

We try not to print unless we have to and when we do we consider the paper we use, it's sustainability and whether it can be recycled. For example our business cards are printed on a new kind of paper made from 100% recycled T-shirts offcuts - the stuff that normally gets thrown away.  Our magazine is printed on PEFC accredited paper, this means it is has been sourced from sustainably managed forests, which adhere to environmentally approved standards. This paper has less carbon footprint than recycled paper. The magazine can also be recycled and the polywrap it is sent out in is made from bio compostable material.

We have moved to two new offices in the last 18 months with excellent sustainability credentials which was a high priority in our choice. We are currently developing a more sustainable travel policy to encourage the reduction of air travel and actively encourage train and bike use. We have also just launched a new, upgraded VC system into the firm to reduce travel. We have many other plans, including looking at how we can further reduce and offset our carbon emissions.

Read our community & CSR related blogs

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Updated: Gender Pay Gap figures for 2019

COMMITTED TO GENDER EQUALITY

We have taken the decision to be open about our Gender Pay Gap figures, even though as a partnership with fewer than 250 employees we are not yet required to report on these statistics. We have been tracking them for the last three years and have produced them for both our staff and our partnership.

In summary for 2019 our median pay gap was 22.3%. This is a slight increase from 2018 figures at 21.2%. In terms of our bonus gap, there is still no median gap as men and women are paid the same.

The gender split of our teams remains biased towards women at 59% and men at 41%, This is a reduction from 65% women and 35% men in 2018 and is due to the 59 hires we made in 2019.  We still have significantly more women at 60% in upper middle positions than men at 40%. At the upper level, the split has changed from 52% men and 48% women in 2018 to 45% men and 55% women in 2019.

We currently have 47 partners in total. 74% of our partners are male and 26% are female. In our lower and middle quartiles our partnership is 58% men and 42% women. We are making strong improvements in these partnership quartiles and are committed to having a diverse partnership. In the last two years 50% of our newly made-up junior partners have been male and 50% female.

We are not evenly split in our upper quartiles. We want to change this, but evolving the make-up of our partnership will take time. Upper quartile partners have been at the firm for 25-30 years and at the time they joined the firm, there were far fewer women studying STEM qualifications. It is important to note that our partnership continually expands, rather than specific spaces being allocated or a 'one in one out' system being in place; this also affects the rate gender balance can change. In the last two years two women and one man have been promoted to full member partnership status.

Talk to us about our Community Programme

Sean Walton

Partner, Patent Attorney

Lillian Cunliffe

Head of HR

Maria Hall

Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer

Sean Harvey

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

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Mewburn Ellis

FORWARD MAGAZINE

Mewburn Ellis Forward is a biannual publication that celebrates the best of innovation and exploration. We run regular columns in the magazine on inclusivity and many of our articles have a focus on sustainability.

Our magazine is printed on paper that has been sourced from sustainably managed forests which adhere to environmentally approved standards. This paper has less carbon footprint than recycled paper. The full magazine, including the cover, can be recycled and the wrapper that is used to protect the magazine is made from starch-based biopolymers, meaning it is compostable. 

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