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Responsible Business

Our Environment

We are committed to measuring and reducing our environmental impact. We want to reduce our energy consumption, non-essential business travel, paper consumption and waste production, in order to reduce our carbon footprint and move towards being carbon neutral and then net zero.

  1. We started collecting data relating to our environmental impact in London in 2015 and we will start collecting data globally in 2021.
    1. In London, over the past five years (2016-2020) there has been a 36% reduction in absolute carbon footprint. From 2,367tCO2e down to 1,522.8tCO2e and that does not take into account any excessive reductions due to COVID-19 (travel savings etc) as they will be recorded in the 2021 certificate which uses the 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020 reporting data. CO2 per employee has dropped from 5.2tCO2e to 3.5tCO2e so a reduction of 33%.
    2. The London office has achieved the Planet Mark certification each year, for the past five years, and received the 'Achiever' award from the Planet Mark in 2020 in recognition of the results of our efforts. The certification requires us to measure and manage our environmental footprint as well as engage staff to ensure continuous improvement. In 2015, we committed to reduce our carbon footprint in London by 5% each year.
    3. The Planet Mark, in partnership with the Eden Project and is a sustainability certification available for all businesses, buildings and projects that are committed to improving their sustainability. The Planet Mark for Business engages with over 100 organisations comprised of more than 33,000 employees and students. On average, Planet Mark certified businesses make a 7% carbon saving each year per employee through energy use, waste, water, travel and procurement and in doing so expect to make a cost savings of at least £100 per employee per annum.
    4. Find out more about The Planet Mark for Business here.
  2. Our global environment policy has been approved by the CR board and applies to all of our global operations.
  3. Globally, our environment work and environmental awareness is promoted annually in recognition of the UN's World Environment Day (5 June).
  4. We are proud to have signed the Pledge for Greener Arbitrations, which is designed to fundamentally change the way in which arbitration is conducted, through actions such as minimising travel and using electronic documents instead of hard copies. For more information about the Green Pledge, visit: https://www.greenwoodarbitration.com/greenpledge
  5. In London:
    1. In 2015, as part of our commitment to be compliant with new UK environment legislation - the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) - we undertook an energy audit to identify ways to reduce our energy use. This report highlighted a number of resulting actions, such as the London office lighting upgrade, which was completed in 2017. The upgrade resulted in the office reducing its energy usage by more than 50% and included replacing more than 1,000 conventional light fittings with low-energy LED 'skytiles'.
    2. Our cleaning contractor is Greenzone Cleaning and Support Services. The office recycles more than 75% of its waste and all general (non-recyclable) waste collected from Greenzone's contracted sites is sent to an energy-from-waste facility creating clean energy and ensuring zero to landfill. The facility feeds into the National Grid and creates enough energy each year to power more than 35 homes for a month. Greenzone's entire company ethos is centred around environment, sustainability, diversity and inclusion. They only use environmentally friendly cleaning materials, with no bleach or other harsh chemicals used which could enter the water supply.
    3. The London office's caterers (Lexington) have a strict requirement to use sustainable ingredients and products with the lowest possible food miles, and its coffee supplier empowers the homeless by training them to be baristas.
    4. The office is now supplied with 100% renewable energy.
    5. The Garden Cafe has been zero plastic since 2018
    6. The office's coffee is supplied by Change Please who empower homeless people by training them to be baristas.
    7. Our taxi provider (new as of 2021), Gett, doesn't add any more cars to the roads, they just ensure the ones that exist already are put to the best possible use; offer a Gett Electric class which will exclusively hail you an electric cab; every ride with Gett has been offset (hence each journey is carbon neutral) since September 2018; and, a carbon positive option is available to users through a donation per trip option. Find out more about Gett's approach here.
    8. The office has promoted environmental awareness via an annual environment week since 2015 (excluding 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions). In 2019:
      1. Throughout the week the café sold tupperware and natural cotton bags to help reduce waste and hot beverages will be half price for those who bring their own mugs.
      2. Colleagues had the opportunity to find out more about supplier Vegware; grow the first herbs planted in the garden; meet DDP, our fruit and veg supplier, highlighting our traffic light ordering system and showcasing our 'green light products', those that have the lowest food miles and are the best of the season; meet our coffee supplier Change Please
      3. Lexington promoted their very strict policy on fish purchasing which is in line with Marine Stewardship Council standards and is fully sustainable.
  6. Since March 2016, the Dubai office has been recycling non-confidential paper via the GreenBox initiative. To date (2019) the office has saved 7,798 gallons of water and 427 gallons of oil.
  7. We are also working to protect the environment outside of our own operations:
    1. Our global partnership with Renewable Word is enabling energy poor communities to access renewable energy and at the same time reduce poverty. HFW colleagues undertook pro bono work on behalf of Renewable World in order to enable them to partner with Octopus Energy on their Carbon Offsetting Programme. For customers on their Super Green tariff all carbon emissions created in both the production and the consumption of natural gas are carbon offset. All Octopus tariffs also use 100% electricity from renewable sources.
    2. HFW is a founding member of the World Ocean Council
    3. We have experience and expertise across our global network in sustainable finance, energy transformation, sustainable shipping and environmental regulation.
    4. HFW colleagues (led by Marina Soares Ingles) joined a Big Hack organised by The Chancery Lane Project (TCLP), a not-for-profit community of legal professionals, to assist in drafting and reviewing clauses that they hope will a make real difference in the fight against climate change. The project has organised hackathons, peer reviews and online working groups, bringing professionals from across the legal sector together to share their ideas and expertise. They are also currently working on the third edition of their Climate Contract Playbook, which will feature a number of 'green' clauses that firms can use in their contracts going forward. You can view past editions of the Playbook and other TCLP publications here

We are working with clients across our international network to help them minimise the impact of COVID-19 on their business and to prepare for what's next. To find out more, visit our dedicated Covid-19 hub.

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