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Our Environment

Like many organisations, we recognise that our activities can have an impact upon the environment at various levels. We also know that it’s our responsibility to promote a proactive approach to reducing this impact. Leading this journey for Irwin Mitchell is our Operations Team.

The team has an environmental policy that outlines our approach to reducing our environmental impact. We also aim to work with suppliers and contractors to ensure that their operations, services and products are consistent with this policy.

Overall, our aims are:

  • To reduce the firm’s carbon footprint
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Reduce business travel and paper usage through digital solutions
  • To work collaboratively with others to share and learn best practice
  • To report on our progress.

Climate Change And Reducing Our Footprint

In 2008 Irwin Mitchell became a founder member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, a collaborative movement of law firms and the Law Society. Along with the other founding firms, we made a commitment to measure and publish our carbon footprint.

We measure and publish our carbon footprint via the Legal Sustainability Alliance on an annual basis.

Download the 2018 LSA Annual Report.

Going forward, we’re committed to continuing to reducing and reporting on our impact. We’re also committed to raising awareness about the Legal Sector Alliance and to encourage other firms to join.

In summer 2018, we achieved the ISO 140001:2015 and ISO:5001-2011 standards, a framework used by organisations to achieve the intended outcomes of environmental management systems. These standards provide value for the environment, the organisation itself and any interested parties.

Waste And Recycling

Irwin Mitchell is actively working towards reducing the amount of waste that we send to landfill. We encourage our colleagues to use less and provide all of our offices with a range of recycling facilities.

These facilities allow staff to recycle plastic, glass, cans, batteries, toner cartridges and paper. We also recycle old or unwanted office furniture through our charity partnerships where we can and dispose of old IT equipment in line with the required legislation.

Colleagues have also been holding clothes swap events and using their volunteering allowances to clean up local areas near their offices.

Our Offices

While we’re working to targets to reduce paper use, we have applied double sided and ‘Follow Me’ printing in all of our offices. This allows users to pull off print jobs as they are ready to collect them from the printer. Not only is this better for security, but also reduces the need for reprinting and reduces the amount of toner used.

An Environmentally Friendly Cup Of Tea

Eighteen water systems across our offices are supplied by Aqua Aid – an organisation which uses a portion of its profits to fund vital water pumps to communities in impoverished areas of Africa.

Our purchase of these water systems has so far allowed Aqua Aid to provide eight ‘elephant pumps’ to communities without reliable water sources in Zimbabwe. Each pump provides around 10,000 litres of water per day, accommodating roughly 300 people. This means Aqua Aid have helped us to provide water for up to 2,400 people across Zimbabwe. The pumps aren’t just for drinking water, but also washing and watering livestock and maintaining vegetable gardens.

We’ve also replaced paper cups with mugs, which are reused every day, resulting in a reduction in 312,000 cardboard cups. In 2018, we also changed the reusable plastic coffee cups which we give away at events to ones made from biodegradable bamboo fibre for a real ‘green tea’ experience. Profits from the Bronte biscuits we buy for our meeting rooms go towards aiding deforestation projects and orangutan protection charities in Borneo.

Our card recycling scheme

In 2018 we launched our first Christmas card recycling scheme with one of our suppliers, Red-Inc. The initiative, which we hope to repeat, saw 264.50kg cards shredded and recycled into new paper and card products. It also saw 88 acres of Amazonian Rainforest in Peru protected through the Rainforest Trust and an additional 88 trees planted in Caledonia Scotland.

Our UK Powerhouse Report On Environment

As part of our commitment to helping to promote the environmental agenda, in July 2019 we published a special version of our UK Powerhouse report. The report in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) looks at environmental performance on CO2 emissions, renewable energy, recycling, and commuting across 46 UK cities. Read the full UK Powerhouse report.

Business Travel

Most of our offices have video conferencing facilities which let our locations link into one another for multi-site meetings. All employees are encouraged to use either video or telephone conferencing where possible to reduce business travel. Where travel is unavoidable, we use public transport and our offices are centrally located with good transport links in the cities we operate.

Most of our offices also have cycle racks/storage and showers on site for colleagues and visitors who wish to use two wheels instead of four. For several years now, we’ve also provided a Ride to Work scheme, which lets our permanent employees get tax-deducted cycling equipment worth up to £1000.

We also offer all colleagues an interest-free loan of up to £10,000 to help fund public transport season tickets over the course of a year. This helps us sure that environmentally-friendly commuting options are as accessible as possible for our people, including those who aren’t able to commute by bike.

All of our locations now have facilities for visitors to attend our offices by bike a well.

Key contact: If you would like to find out more about how we’re working on our environmental impact contact Sarah Ball, our Director of Operations.