Linklaters and ClimateCare announce three year partnership on World Environment Day

Null African Pygmy Kingfisher, © Tremarctos Photography

Linklaters and climate and sustainable development specialist ClimateCare have announced a new three year partnership that brings together the skills of both organisations to cut carbon, save precious wildlife habitat and improve lives in Sierra Leone.

Linklaters works closely with ClimateCare to offset its unavoidable emissions and achieve carbon neutrality through best practice projects. For the next three years the organisation has committed to expand its work beyond a simple offset, and aims to use its legal expertise to provide pro bono support to the Gola Rainforest Project in Sierra Leone. This will focus, in particular, on supporting local people to derive equitable and sustainable livelihoods from the forest.

The Gola Rainforest Project is the first REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) carbon project in Sierra Leone. This West African country, which has suffered extensive deforestation due to agricultural expansion and logging, has less than 4% primary forest cover.

The project is a partnership between the Government of Sierra Leone, The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, The RSPB and local communities.

Working together, 168 project staff support 122 communities, developing sustainable livelihoods and safeguarding this biodiversity hotspot. The forest – known locally as the Green Diamond - is home to more than 300 species of bird, over 600 species of butterfly as well as endangered pygmy hippos and chimpanzees.

Training and supporting communities in sustainable agriculture, particularly cocoa production, helps farmers live in harmony with the forest, whilst improving productivity and quality – meaning better prices and a more reliable source of income.

The project will reduce 5 million tonnes of CO2 by 2021 and delivers against multiple global goals, specifically, goal 15, Life on Land.

For Linklaters, employing legal expertise alongside the offset was a key attraction:

“A successful local economy that respects the rainforest is the surest way of protecting Gola for generations to come. The opportunity to go above and beyond a simple carbon offset was compelling and we look forward to employing our legal skills to strengthen local people’s engagement in Gola, to the benefit of all.”

explains Matt Sparkes, Head of Corporate Responsibility.

ClimateCare specialises in building world class offset programmes for organisations that match their business purpose and values.

“Putting together a bespoke offset programme delivers real added value through staff, customer and supplier engagement, and enables us to deploy our partner’s key skills to further the environmental and social impacts of ClimateCare projects”

says ClimateCare’s Head of Partnerships, Rob Stevens.

Linklaters began offsetting its carbon emissions after a survey of employees found that 86% were in favour of offsetting unavoidable emissions. Since then, the organisation has seen real business benefits from its programme with ClimateCare. In addition to increased staff engagement and retention, Linklaters’ recruitment team reports positive responses from prospective employees and importantly, Linklaters is able to showcase environmental responsibility to clients – helping it win and maintain business.

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Sustainable lifestyle choices

 

Since 2007, Linklaters has engaged its people for World Environment Day, raising awareness on how they can make sustainable lifestyle choices. This year, to launch its three year partnership with ClimateCare and support for the Gola Rainforest project, Linklaters will be providing employees with a reusable coffee cup celebrating the partnership, and reducing plastic waste. Further information on Linklaters environmental sustainability programme is available here.

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The Gola Rainforest project is home to 300 species of birds.
Null African Pygmy Kingfisher, © Tremarctos Photography
The Gola Rainforest project is home to over 600 species of butterfly
NullButterfly, ©Tremarctos Photography – www.tremarctos.com

The Gola Rainforest project is developing sustainable cocoa farming, bringing more secure incomes to local communities as well as protecting the forest and wildlife.

NullCocoa Farmers, ©Bjorn Horvath.