Plan includes sustainability billable-hours policy
Reed Smith has announced the launch of its Global Environmental Sustainability Plan 2024. With measurable and transparent targets, the plan underpins the firm’s continuing commitment to evolving its operations and behaviours to drive lasting environmental sustainability within the firm, its communities and the legal industry.
Reed Smith’s plan has an initial two-year focus, with the expectation that the firm will announce a revised set of targets and timelines as the initial milestones are achieved. Through this sustained global effort, the firm will build on previous environmental, social and governance efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and operate in a more sustainable fashion.
The plan is focused on three key initial priorities:
• Reducing carbon emissions: In accordance with the best available science, the firm recognises that there is an urgent need to accelerate the transition towards global net zero emissions. Reed Smith is initially committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2024
• Recycling: The firm is aiming to make all products used across its global operations recyclable or reusable by 2024. It is taking active steps to reduce the use of single-use plastics throughout its offices and will train and educate its people to ensure they are equipped to adhere to sustainable waste management practices while working remotely
• Internal engagement: The firm will appoint two sustainability partners and two sustainability champions to drive the progress of the firm’s sustainability goals. It will also establish a ‘Green Team’ with representation from all its offices to ensure it achieves its sustainability goals throughout the firm.
“We have a responsibility to act sustainably in support of our communities around the world,” said Nick Bagiatis, Reed Smith’s chief operating officer. “The firm’s sustainability plan reflects the shared commitment of our people to this endeavor. Our plan takes a holistic approach and establishes specific and measurable targets that will lead to impactful and tangible results. Our initial targets are an important first step on our journey to achieve sustainability.”
Reed Smith’s global environmental sustainability plan also contains a number of initiatives that will help to improve the firm’s approach to protecting the environment. These include:
• Citizenship: All timekeepers can now annually designate up to 25 hours of work and activities related to sustainability projects as billable time. The billable-hour credit towards sustainability projects may be the first of its kind among global law firms
• Procurement: Reed Smith will undertake a review of all suppliers and work with them to ensure that their policies and practices are environmentally sustainable and align with the firm’s sustainability goals
• Investing in the environment: The firm will reinvest savings made through its sustainability policies with charitable organisations that help lead to a more sustainable world
• Ensuring firmwide sustainability: The firm will leverage best practices from its most sustainable offices – from recycling and procurement to waste management and travel – to create a gold standard that all of its offices can emulate globally
• Client partnerships: The firm will host twice yearly roundtables with clients across industries to discuss developments, improvements and opportunities for Reed Smith to make further changes to enhance its approach to protecting the environment.
“The expansion of the billable-hours policy to include sustainability projects is another enhancement of our Associate Life initiative, which enables our attorneys to work on issues of critical importance while building leadership skills and expanding their skill sets,” said Casey Ryan, Reed Smith’s global head of personnel. “These experiences will further support their legal and professional development and yield key advances in support of sustainability.”