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 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

Our new firmwide carbon reduction targets to 2030 - approved by the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) - from a FY19 (2018/19) market based baseline, are to:

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

We believe these to be leading commitments for our sector.

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 an A- in 2020 for the fourth year in a row.

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

Between 2009/10 and 2019/20, as a firm we reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) equivalent, reported in tCO2e, by 46% across scopes 1, 2 & 3. This includes reductions arising from electricity (39%), water use (27%), business travel (23%), paper use (48.5%) and waste generation (36%).

In 2019/20, 71% of electricity was sourced from a 100% renewable supply and we aim to increase renewable energy purchasing where possible in our offices.

More specific performance and GHG data is available below.

Carbon offsetting

Between 2017/18 and 2021/22 we offset our GHG emissions associated with our business activities including premises and business travel through the Gola Rainforest Project in Sierra Leone.

1 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 scope 3 emission categories; water, waste, paper, hotel stays, business and events travel including plane, train and taxi journeys).

Sustainable by design

The sustainability of our buildings matters to us. We have leading environmental certifications across our offices and are working to enhance the health and wellbeing credentials of our sites too. Examples include:

  • a LEED platinum (and DGNB gold) in Frankfurt, 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 minimum BREEAM (Shell and Core) ‘Excellent’ rated and WELL certified building. We have instructed our fit-out design team to achieve the highest BREEAM and WELL certificates for the fit-out design.

Advising clients

Our Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) 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 FY20 (April 2020).

Going forward, we will report performance against a refreshed FY19 market-based baseline, calculated in line with the SBTi methodology, to inform our new our carbon reduction commitments to 2030.

 Linklaters Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statement

Firmwide Carbon Emissions Units 20181  20192  20203
Scope 1 Company Vehicles tonnes CO2e 56  58  63
  Fugitive Emissions tonnes CO2e 119  176  61
  On-Site Combustion tonnes CO2e 1,447  1,316  1,347
Scope 1 subtotal tonnes CO2e 1,622  1,550  1,471
Scope 2 Electricity tonnes CO2e 8,783  7,582  6,726
Direct Heating & Cooling tonnes CO2e 545  414  358
Scope 2 subtotal tonnes CO2e 9,328 7,996   7,084
  Scope 2 subtotal (accounting for
 renewable energy purchased)
 tonnes CO2e  4,411  3,696  3,455

Scope 3

Business Travel tonnes CO2e 11,564 11,974  7,376
  Events Travel  tonnes CO2e  368 717   274
  Transmission & Distribution tonnes CO2e 780 548  476
Waste tonnes CO2e 64 61   128
  Paper Purchased tonnes CO2e 438 414   286
  Water tonnes CO2e 71 76  74
Scope 3 subtotal tonnes CO2e 13,285              

13,790  8,614
Total emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) tonnes CO2e 24,235 23,336  17,170

Total emissions intensity

(FTE headcount location based)


(Scope 1, 2 and 3)

tonnes CO2e 3.74 3.53   2.61
Total emissions (accounting for renewable energy purchased)    tonnes CO2e 19,318 19,036  13540
12018 data limited verification in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14064 – part 3 standard.
22019 data limited verification in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14064 – part 3 standard.
2020 data limited verification in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14064 – part 3 standard.
to ensure consistency across greenhouse gas emissions factors for electricity and due to DEFRA ending the production of electricity factors for overseas locations in 2016,electricity emissions factors were instead sourced from the IEA and rebaselined for all years. Therefore, years 2010 and 2016 above have been updated since the previous assurance years.
Up to 3 months of 2019/20 data was affected by lockdowns and agile working due to Covid 19’ 

The 2020 Greenhouse Gas Assurance Statement is here.

Environmental Performance

Firmwide Unites 2018  2019  2020
Business Travel Air Million km 71.9  71.5  51.9
Road Million km 1.4 1.2  1.3
Rail Million km 3.5 2.8  4
Energy Electricity Million kWh 23.5 23.4  21.9
Renewable Tariff Percentage 72  73  71
Other2 Million kWh 10.4  9.2  9.2
Resource Use Paper A4 Reams 165,846 153,895   106,801
Water M3 72,899  73,686  70,232
 Waste Disposal  All waste3 Tonnes 1,839  1,633  1579  
   Recycling4 Percentage 77  75  72  

Point 2* remove fuel oil gas oil (not measure in kWh)

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.
3Recycling rate in 2020 in the UK was 87%, based on weighed data.
4Up to 3 months of 2019/20 data was affected by lockdowns and agile working due to Covid 19’