Sustainability: On our way to net-zero with validated targets

The path to net-zero is a complex and multifaceted one, but is a journey we are actively taking. The goal is simple, achieve net-zero by 2050, our people want it, our clients are asking for it and the planet needs it. Playing our part in reducing our carbon use to achieve net-zero is the right thing to do.

Our priority is to make sure that the way we operate has as little environmental impact as possible. We have a Sustainability Champion and a Sustainability Collaboration Group actively working on this. Sustainability is on the Board agenda too and is now an active part of our decision making process. We track our carbon use and report on this each year and fully offset all carbon we do use through carbon avoidance projects. We have also undertaken a number of external submissions and commitments to validate our approach and assess our credibility in this important area.

 

Science Based Targets

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reductions targets in line with the latest climate science. It is focused on accelerating companies across the world to halve emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions before 2050. The initiative is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. 

We had our near and long-term targets validated in 2023 by the Science Based Targets initiative' to achieve a 42% reduction in Scope 1&2 emissions and reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 2030. We have also committed to achieve a 90% reduction or net-zero by 2050. 

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CDP

Mewburn Ellis has also completed CDP’s Climate Change questionnaire for 2023, furthering our commitment to environmental transparency by disclosing our environmental impact. CDP is a global environmental disclosure system that enables companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage, and share vital environmental information. It is the gold standard for corporate environmental reporting, a global non-profit that runs the world’s leading environmental disclosure platform.

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EcoVadis

We are proud to have been awarded the prestigious silver medal award by EcoVadis in 2023, for the second year running. Our sustainability score increased to move us from the 70th to the 83rd percentile of all companies assessed.

EcoVadis sustainability assessments examine performance across a range of sustainability metrics, including environment, social and governance. They have been used by over 90,000 companies in over 160 countries and over 200 industries. The comprehensive assessment is based on a customised questionnaire linked to industry, country and size, and resulting in an actionable scorecard.

EcoVadis 2023

Nearly 1000 Tonnes of Carbon Avoided So Far 

We are working to reduce our Scope 1,2 & 3 carbon use, but what we cannot reduce ourselves we have chosen to reduce via carbon avoidance projects. We have reduced our carbon footprint by 48% overall since last year. See our full carbon report for 2023 for more details. 

2022-23 Total Scope 1, 2 & 3 Carbon Use 339 tCO2e

2021-22 Total Scope 1, 2 & 3 Carbon Use 650 tCo2e

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Mewburn Ellis support the Sustainable Development Goals. Our environmental work delivers against three of the seventeen goals.

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Five Step Climate Action Plan & Net-Zero Transition Plan

1. We ask questions and are accountable

We launched this action plan in 2022 and it began as a series of aims. We have delivered on every one of them and this is now a framework to continue to monitor progress. We now have an environmental strategy and a net-zero transition plan in place. Our net-zero transition plan outlines the key steps we plan to implement across the firm from energy use and travel to sustainable procurement and waste management. We also look at measurement and engagement to fully embed this initiative into the business.  

 

2. We offset our carbon and are reducing it as much as possible

We track and report on our carbon footprint. We use this to help us understand where we need to improve. We have made a commitment to reduce our Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 42% by 2030 and track and reduce our Scope 3 and to reduce 1,2 and 3 by 90% by 2050 to reach net-zero. We are serious about this commitment and are now working towards these reductions. We have already reduced our emissions. Business travel is a significant contributor to our carbon footprint. We're working to reduce this and use our 'Sustainability Sense Check' to question transport choice, business need and perceived value. We are clever, use time and resources wisely and only travel when necessary. Each year we offset the carbon we do use through carbon avoidance projects. 

 

3. We plant a tree for every new matter we open and have created a Mewburn Ellis Forest

We 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 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 now have an internal Sustainability Group made up of people that want to get involved with this initiative within the firm who are helping to identify and drive forward sustainability initiatives at the firm.

 

5. We 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. 

 

Find out more about why sustainability and community is so important to our firm

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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 50,792 trees in total so far. For 2022-23 we planted 12,790 trees to 31st March 2023. For our 2023-24 financial year we planted 10,350 trees. For 2024-25 we have planted 1764 to 16th June 2024.

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.

 

Open pages of Sustainable Communities 2023 report

Sustainable Communities

Special Report 2023

This Sustainable Communities 2023 Annual Report summarises the progress we have made in the last twelve months since our previous annual report and highlights our tremendous achievements, as well as setting out our plans for 2023-24.

Highlights

  • Given over £750,000 to good causes and enabled our people to allocate over 900 days of time to community work should they wish to.

  • Launched our I&D strategy, created a Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer role on our Board, and established our Inclusion & Diversity Collaboration Group, and Menopause, WoMEn Network, LGBTQ+ME, Mental Health and Culture Club communities.

  • Launched our five-step climate action plan, created a Sustainability Champion role and formed a Sustainability Collaboration Group, as well as achieving a Silver rating from sustainability ratings agency EcoVadis, submitting to CDP and setting Science Based Targets.

download the report

Read our Sustainability Blogs

How liquid air can store solar and wind energy

How liquid air can store solar and wind energy

by Callum McGuinn

Storing energy from solar and wind is a huge challenge. We talk to Highview Power, whose liquid air concept means solar and wind farms can store energy for the long term.

Electric ships are here. But how to charge them?

Electric ships are here. But how to charge them?

by Simon Parry

Ports need to supply ships with megawatts of power to charge in under two hours. The BlueStor consortium is developing batteries for the job.

Capturing solar and wind: how Geyser Batteries can balance the grid

Capturing solar and wind: how Geyser Batteries can balance the grid

by Callum McGuinn

The grid needs a rapid way to balance input and output. Geyser Batteries of Finland may have the ideal solution.

Bacteria bites back: Putting carbon on the menu

Bacteria bites back: Putting carbon on the menu

by Amelia Jones

When faced with solving the climate crisis, no idea is too ambitious for Synthetic Biology (SynBio) scientists. While SynBio has already underpinned a range of innovative climate-saving technologies ...

Cleantech Commercialisation Report: Highlights and Trends

Cleantech Commercialisation Report: Highlights and Trends

by Eleanor Maciver

Today (26 April 2024) the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) published an in-depth (and very lengthy) report on financing and commercialisation of cleantech. [For ...

Medical devices: Insights through IP - new report 2024

Medical devices: Insights through IP - new report 2024

by Joanna Smith

We are delighted to release our latest report Medical devices: Insights through IP which looks at the recent IP trends in the medical devices sector.

READ our Forward Community Programme Blogs
Open pages of Green IP Report

Green IP Report

Patents are both a driver and a barometer of innovation

Our report examines the role of patents in making innovative ‘green’ technologies into a reality as well as how the patent landscape can be used to identify opportunities for partnering, collaboration and investment.

We share our enthusiasm and admiration for commercially-focused innovation across a diverse range of technologies, from repurposing carbon dioxide to make protein-rich foods, to the multi-faceted approach to a circular plastics economy. We also discuss the tantalising prospect of AI-mediated renewable energy supply, and the harnessing of battery tech from the EV boom to drive energy efficiency in consumer devices. This report reflects our passion for technology solutions that tackle our shared global challenge.

Download the Report

Summary of Our Sustainability Initiatives

We are:

  • Tracking and reducing our carbon footprint and offsetting what we cant reduce

  • Reviewing all areas where we can be more sustainable

  • Supporting sustainable charities

  • Planting a tree for every new matter we open

  • Encouraging the sustainable conversation with Forward Magazine and our Green IP report

  • Actively working with and supporting our clients with a sustainability focus

  • Moving to agile working on our offices to reduce our impact

  • paperless office and have been for over a decade

  • Recycling in all offices. We are bin free at our desks to encourage staff to stand up to go to the recycling bins and properly divide up their waste

  • Recycling our end of life electronics

  • Using cloud computing

  • Using glass milk bottles rather than plastic

  • Using recycled t-shirts for our business cards

  • Considering sustainability in our office moves

  • 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.

  • Implementing a sustainability sense check for our travel

  • Using our new, upgraded VC system and VC studios to reduce travel.

Supporting Sustainable Charities

As part of our community programme we've donated £5,000 to The Ocean Conservation Trust and £5,000 to The Climate Coalition from our Forward Fund to support them in their environmental work. 

The Ocean Conservation Trust  is working towards healthier oceans, which is a key part of the climate change puzzle. Over 20 years ago, a dynamic group of marine scientists, researchers, educators and divers came together to create a charity that would showcase some of the amazing habitats and animals found in a healthy and vibrant Ocean.

The Climate Coalition has a vision of a future where the UK no longer contributes to climate change. Their aim is to clean up the air we breathe, have warmer homes powered by cleaner, cheaper energy, restore our green spaces and make it easier for to live in a cleaner, greener world that future generations can enjoy.

Read more about our Community work
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Mewburn Ellis

FORWARD MAGAZINE

Mewburn Ellis Forward is a biannual publication that celebrates the best of innovation and exploration. Through its pages we hope to inform and entertain, but also to encourage discussion about the most compelling developments taking place in the scientific and entrepreneurial world. Along the way, we’ll engage with the IP challenges that international organisations face every day.