Our approach

Linklaters understands the importance of the changing climate and strong environmental management. Across our business, we have reduced many of our negative impacts and associated greenhouse gas emissions since 2007. We look for opportunities to reduce our impacts and associated emissions further, including through energy and resource efficiency, waste prevention, sustainable travel and supply chain engagement.

Already leaders in our sector – both in operations and client advice – we know there is more to do and we are fully committed to playing our part.

Leadership and commitment

In June 2021 we adopted firmwide carbon reduction targets to April 2030 - approved by the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) - from a FY19 (2018/19) market based baseline, which are to:

  • reduce Scopes 1 & 2 emissions by 70% and
  • reduce Scope 3 emissions by 50%

Our verified progress against these targets to April 2022 can be seen below. Please note:

  • the FY2021 savings were strongly influenced by pandemic restrictions, different ways of working and key projects being put on hold. 
  • FY2022 savings were still influenced by pandemic restriction in many countries, the return to hybrid working under our Agile Working Policy and key project investment.
  • Our focus continues to be on ‘building back better’ and transitioning to a lower carbon way of working and doing business:

Science-based rarget progresses

Our leadership is longstanding. In addition to being one of only two global law firms to hold firmwide environmental management system (EMS) certification to ISO 14001:2015, we remain the only global law firm to have reported GHG emissions through the CDP Climate Change questionnaire since 2012, scoring a B in 2022. 

Governance for the programme is provided by the Corporate Responsibility Committee which has delegated authority from the Partnership Board to endorse the firmwide environment programme, including the Environmental Policy.

Externally, we are active members of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, a network of law firms in which members share best practice and work together to ensure law firms play a full part in tackling the climate crisis.

Tangible Results

Science-Based Target progress: Between FY2019 and 2022, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) equivalent, reported in tCO2e, as follows:

  • Scope 1 & 2 by 28%, and
  • Scope 3 by 32%.

These overall reductions were informed by a 23.2% increase in natural gas emissions, a 60.1% decrease in electricity emissions, an 89.6% decrease in business travel and a 21.8% decrease in purchased goods and services emissions. 

In FY 2022, 81.5% of electricity was sourced from a 100% renewable supply. We continue to seek more renewable energy supplies where possible and energy efficiency opportunities in our offices. 

Long-term progress: Between 2009/10 and 2019/20, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) equivalent by 46% across scopes 1, 2 & certain 3 sub-categories. This includes reductions arising from electricity (39%), water use (27%), business travel (23%), paper use (48.5%) and waste generation (36%).

More specific environment performance and GHG data is available below.

Carbon offsetting

Between 2018 and April 2022 Linklaters offset GHGs associated with our traditional business activities including travel and premises1 through the Gola Rainforest Conservation Project in Sierra Leone.

The Gola Project protects over 140,000 hectares of rare rainforest with numerous endangered wildlife species, by creating a National Park to protect the habitat for 327 bird species, 650 endemic plant species, and 49 species of larger mammals.  This, in turn, supports local communities through education and sustainable agriculture within a buffer zone surrounding the Park.

Gola Project 

Emissions are offset from all scope 1 (e.g. gas use, refrigerant losses), scope 2 (i.e. purchased electricity which is not 100% renewable sourced) and the following scope 3 emission sources: water, waste, paper, hotel stays and business travel including plane, train and taxi journeys.  

Sustainable by design

Our office fitout and move designs are informed by environment, health and wellbeing certifications and our own guidance and generic specifications which are built into our Global Design Guide and supported by Sustainable Design Checklists. 

We have leading environmental certifications across our offices and are working to enhance the health and wellbeing credentials of our sites through office moves and refurbishments. Examples include:

  • a LEED platinum (and DGNB gold) in Frankfurt, Dubai and Jakarta; LEED silver in New York and Stockholm
  • a ‘Class A’ building in Milan, an A-label building in Amsterdam and a BCA Green Mark Scheme building in Singapore
  • from 2026 our new headquarters will be in 20 Ropemaker, London which is designed to be a BREEAM (Shell and Core) ‘Outstanding’ rated and WELL ‘Platinum’ certified building. We are working with our fit-out design team to achieve the highest BREEAM and WELL certificates for the fit-out design and are on target to achieve these.

Advising clients

Our Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Practice team has a robust understanding of the regulatory and policy drivers of the market and experience across a wide range of sectors and contexts. We take a holistic approach, covering a wide range of areas - from climate change and resource efficiency, human rights and community engagement, antibribery and corruption, transparency and disclosure, product governance, and risk management more generally.

Linklaters Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statement and Performance Data

The following firmwide GHG emissions, performance data and verification statement are true to the end of FY22 (April 2022).

From our FY19 market-based baseline, calculated in line with the SBTi methodology, our carbon emission performance over the past four years is as follows.  Please note that many of the changes are influenced by Covid-19 restrictions and different ways of working. The scope 3 emission categories relevant to Linklaters are shown.

 Linklaters Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statement

Firmwide Carbon Emissions Units FY20191  FY20202  FY20213  FY20224
  Company Vehicles tCO2e  58  63  45  165
  Fugitive Emissions tCO2e  176  62  65  130
  On-Site Combustion tCO2e  1,315  1,347  1,499  1,616
Scope 1 sub-total Scope 1 subtotal tCO2e  1,549  1,471  1,610  1,910
tCO2e  3,696  2,751  1,835  1,444
 tCO2e  7,583  6,726  4,866  4,989
Direct Heating & Cooling tCO2e  412  358  454  725
Scope 2 sub-total

Scope 2

(market-based) subtotal

tCO2e 4,108  3,109  2,289  2,169

 Scope 2

(location-based) subtotal

 tCO2e  7,995  7,084  5,321  5,714
  Purchased Goods & Services  tCO2e 47,897 38,231  27,687  37,457
  Capital Goods tCO2e 8,796  12,367  10,274  9,804
  Fuel and energy related activities tCO2e 2,060  1,760  1,328  2,115
  Upstream transportation and distribution tCO2e 760 220  150  159
Waste generated in operations tCO2e 61   127  28  39
  Business Travel  tCO2e  22,827  13,921  442  2,389
  Employee commuting & working from home tCO2e 1,576  1,919  2,958  4,944
  Downstream leased assets tCO2e 15 11  2  8
   Investments tCO2e  0.2  0.2  0.1
Scope 3 sub-total Scope 3 subtotal tCO2e 83,993  68,556 42,869  56,913
Total emissions (market based) Scope 1, 2 and 3 Total emissions (market based) Scope 1,2, and 3 tCO2e 89,650  73,136  46,768  60,992

Total emissions (location based) Scope 1, 2 and 3

Total emissions (location based) Scope 1, 2 and 3 tCO2e 93,537  77,111  49,799  64,540
Total emissions intensity (FTE headcount market based) Total emissions intensity (FTE headcount market based)  tCO2e 13.6  11.1  7.2  9.2
Total emissions intensity (FTE headcount location based) Total emissions intensity (FTE headcount location based)  tCO2e  14.2  11.7  7.7  9.7
1-4FY2019-22 scope 1, 2 & 3 data limited verification in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14064 – part 3 standard.

In addition, all scope 1 & 2 UK data has been verified to reasonable assurance in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14064 - part 3 standard for SECR requirements purposes.

The 2022 Greenhouse Gas Assurance Statement is here.

Environmental Performance

Firmwide Units FY2019 FY2020 FY2021  FY2022
Energy Electricity Million kWh 23.4 21.9 17.4  19.9  
  Renewable Tariff Percentage 73 71 74  82  
  Other1 Million kWh 9.3 9.3 10.7  12.9  
 Procurement Purchased Goods & Services £ spent (millions) 169.1 136.9 110.5  122.6  
  Capital Goods £ spent (millions) 22.6 30.8 25.2  22.4  
 Waste Disposal All waste2 Tonnes 1,633 1,573 548  740  
  Recycling  Percentage 75 72 79  71  
 Business Travel Air Million Km 71.5 51.9 1.6  8.4  
  Road Million Km 1.1 1.2 0.5  0.9  
  Rail Million Km 2.8 4 0.3  1.7  
Employee Commuting & Working from Home Employee Commuting Million Km 6.9 6.2 6.2  3.1  
  Working from Home Million kWh - - 13.2  8.5  
Upstream Leased Assets Electricity Million kWh 0.01 0.01 0.009  0.01  
Downstream Leased Assets Electricity Million kWh 0.04 0.04 0.03  0.04  
 Investments Investments £ invested (millions) 0.7 0.7 0.7  0.3  
Resource Use    Units FY2019  FY2020  FY2021  FY2022
   Paper  A4 Reams  153,895  106,801 39,597   38,900
   Water  m3  73,686  70,232  29,260  33,379

1Includes gas, district heating and cooling.
2This includes over 10 different types of waste streams, based on a combination of weighed and estimated waste data.