Dentons UK and Middle East

Dentons is the largest law firm in the world by number of lawyers, with more than 9,000 lawyers in offices in more than 175 locations spanning 78 countries. Dentons UK and Middle East achieved CarbonNeutral® company certification through a combination of internal emissions reductions and emission reduction projects in Uganda, one of the emerging markets the firm operates in.

We wanted to go beyond the tick-box exercise by taking numerous environmental actions internally and ensuring our offsets have a positive impact in the communities they’re purchased from. It’s the right thing to do, it’s cost-effective, and that’s why we’ve committed to a three-year carbon neutral programme and expect that to continue.

Mike Forshaw, Deputy Head of Facilities, Dentons

1

Define

In 2016, Dentons UK and Middle East became a CarbonNeutral® company, spanning greenhouse gas emissions of the firm’s operations in those regions.

2

Measure

To secure CarbonNeutral® company certification, Natural Capital Partners contracted an independent third-party to conduct the greenhouse gas emissions assessment for Dentons UK and Middle East.

The assessment involved calculating the emissions arising from: owned, leased or directly controlled stationary and mobile sources that use fossil fuels and/or emit fugitive emissions; emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, heat, and cooling; and emissions from waste and business travel.

3

Target

Dentons was already measuring and reducing emissions, but the carbon neutral goal brought these actions together into a coherent, clear strategy. Dentons’ Deputy Head of Facilities, Mike Forshaw engaged Dentons’ Global Environmental Committee by setting out a three year plan to demonstrate the long-term commitment to the programme and how it could impact on multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including health and well-being and gender equality in one of the emerging markets the firm operates in.

A benchmarking exercise which showed what some of Dentons’ major clients and competitors were doing was key: “I actually showed him Natural Capital Partners’ client example whereby Microsoft purchased carbon from impactful projects in Africa, India and elsewhere,” Mike said. This helped him convince the UK and Middle East CEO of the value of carbon neutrality in differentiating from other legal firms.

“We wanted to go beyond the tick-box exercise by taking numerous environmental actions internally and ensuring our offsets have a positive impact in the communities they’re purchased from. It’s the right thing to do, it’s cost-effective, and that’s why we’ve committed to a three-year carbon neutral programme and expect that to continue,” Mike said.

4

Reduce

Dentons UK and Middle East has reduced its emissions in several ways. Its offices have implemented a management and reduction plan, improving the efficiency of office air conditioning and heating and lighting systems, as well as reducing air travel. The company has also integrated renewable energy into its energy portfolio through green tariffs.

Dentons’s carbon neutral goal has also been met by financing emission reduction projects that build low carbon sustainable development. The firm has selected a project in one of the emerging markets it operates in, Uganda, which also supports local communities and biodiversity. The restored water infrastructure project delivers benefits in several areas beyond reducing emissions: by providing communities with access to clean water it helps achieve improved health and gender equality outcomes. The project is validated and verified to the Gold Standard.

5

Communicate

Dentons was already measuring and reducing emissions, but CarbonNeutral® certification brought these actions together into a coherent, clear strategy and helped Dentons position itself as an innovative climate leader. Dentons is also a member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, and the company differentiates itself from other carbon neutral companies by financing emission reduction projects that also support local communities and biodiversity in one of the emerging markets the firm operates in.

Within the company, carbon neutrality was agreed by Dentons’ Global Environmental Committee in a three-year plan and sets an example to the wider Dentons Group.

Dentons used this poster across its UK and Middle East offices to celebrate its achievement of CarbonNeutral® company status and to inform its staff.