Sustainability is a complex area and a ongoing focus for our firm. Our priority is to make sure that the way we operate has as little environmental impact as possible. We are looking at how we deal with waste, energy and reducing our carbon footprint, with the objective to eliminate our use if we can, reduce where possible or substitute if necessary. This is a broad approach and covers everything from how we manage our offices to the travel we undertake the decisions we make about the suppliers and products we use.
We have developed a five step climate action plan that we're using as a framework to help us improve in this key area. Some steps are long-term and will take time, others are quicker wins that we're implementing now. All are tangible, a priority for us and part of our business plan with board level support.
Five Step Climate Action Plan
1. We will ask questions and be accountable
We are currently analysing our carbon footprint to understand what it is now and importantly what it was pre Covid. From our new financial year in April 2022, we will track our carbon footprint on an ongoing basis as part of our standard business reporting. This is important to us so we can understand how and where we need to improve. We will ask ourselves the tough questions and challenge our approach and behaviours to reduce our footprint as much as possible. What we can't change, we will offset.
2. We will be carbon neutral by 2025
Our aim is to be carbon neutral by 2025 which will be well before the UK target of 2050. This will be a combination of changing our working practices and off-setting our carbon footprint. We will be using our carbon footprint data to enable us to pinpoint specific areas that we need to target. We know that our travel is a significant contributor to our carbon footprint. We will now look at the impact of our trips and introduce a 'Sustainability Sense Check' to question transport choice, business need and perceived value. We plan to be clever, use time and resources wisely and only travel when necessary.
3. We will plant a tree for every new matter we open and create a Mewburn Ellis Forest
We have decided to plant a tree for every new matter we open. The right tree in the right place, The Mewburn Ellis Forest is managed by responsible partners in a sustainable way is an important part of tackling the climate crisis. We are supporting the planting of native and biodiverse mix of tree species in planting sites around the world including the UK. These planting projects also help to support local communities and reduce poverty by employing local workers.
4. We will enable and support the sustainability conversation and take personal responsibility
We believe that showcasing the good work of our clients and ensuring there is focus on the conversation around sustainability is an important part of the puzzle. We have recently launched our Green IP Report. and are talking extensively about this topic in our sustainability blogs and Green Tech spotlight page. We also plan to create an internal Sustainability Group made up of people that want to get involved with this initiative within the firm who can help identify and drive forward sustainability initiatives at the firm.
5. We will support sustainability charities as part of our Forward Community Programme
As part of our community programme we donate a percentage of our funds each year to sustainable charities to support and reach areas that we cannot directly impact. We already give 1% of our profits to charity each year which amounts to over £150,000 and believe it's important that some of this money supports sustainability goals too.
We're proud to be the first IP firm in the UK IP sector to have been awarded a silver medal by sustainability ratings platform EcoVadis
We're delighted that Mewburn Ellis have been rated Silver by EcoVadis the sustainability ratings agency. This puts us in the top 25% of the 90,000 companies worldwide that have achieved the rating and the top 19% in the legal and accounting industry.
We plant a tree for every new matter we open
A FOCUS ON CLIMATE & BIODIVERSITY
We're proud to be working with environmental organisation Ecologi. They facilitate the funding of carbon offset projects and tree planting around the world. Their mission is to reduce 50% of global CO2 emissions by 2040 and they responsibly plant billions of trees every year.
We have decided to plant a tree through the Ecologi platform for every new matter we open. We've planted over 26,000 trees to end June 2022.
Planting trees is part of the answer to helping our planet and will have a longer term effect on carbon emissions. It works side by side with the other climate action projects we are supporting and the actions we are taking to operate more sustainably. We chose to work with Ecologi as they have a focus on reforesting and on responsible reforestation. They plant the right trees in the right place and effectively protect those trees for the long term too.
We are supporting the planting of native, biodiverse tree species in planting sites around the world including the UK. 10% of our trees are planted in the UK through the Future Forest Company and 90% abroad though Eden Reforestation Projects, because our money goes further and has greater impact overseas. These planting projects are typically mangroves, which grow faster and offset three times more carbon than UK trees. They also support coastal ecosystems and help restore sea life, supporting fish and marine animals too. There is also a broader positive impact at a human level too as these projects help support local communities and reduce poverty by employing local workers and providing them with food and materials.