Firm Outlines Commitment As It Publishes Its Latest Responsible Business Report
Irwin Mitchell has become a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact initiative (UNGC) and a member of the UNGC UK Network, affirming its commitment to ten universally accepted principles in the area of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and aligning its Responsible Business strategy with the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The commitment, revealed in Irwin Mitchell’s FY22 Responsible Business report [today], further focuses the firm’s ambition to be a leading responsible business and sits alongside the increasing demand from clients for help around Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) measures.
Irwin Mitchell’s Responsible Business strategy is centred on two overarching goals of inclusion and sustainability. A key part of this is the Group’s roadmap to transition to Net Zero by 2040, which was launched in July, plus the appointment of Kate Fergusson as Irwin Mitchell’s first Head of Responsible Business in January. Kate’s main priority is to drive forward the delivery of the strategy and engagement with the firm’s stakeholders alongside her team.
FY2022 Responsible Business highlights:
- Colleagues have recorded 4,100+ hours of volunteering work in our communities (inclusive of pro bono work)
- Adopted the Halo Code; achieved Disability Confident Level 2 and signed up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge
- Committed to improving social mobility and widening access to the legal sector
- 84 apprenticeships provided by September 2022 and 62 PRIME placements (pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds) facilitated across its offices since 2020.
- Launched a Roadmap to Net Zero by 2040
- Targeting 100% renewable energy use in offices and a 60% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG footprint by 2025
- Reducing Scope 3 GHG footprint by 50% by 2030
- Committed to verifying climate targets with the Science Based Targets initiative in 2023
- Ranked top 10 of UK’s Best Workplaces for Women by the Great Place to Work Institute and recognised by Law.com International as the UK Top 50 law firm with the highest percentage of UK female partners (equity and non-equity)
- 71% of colleagues are women; 52% of partners
- Continued to evolve its flexible by choice hybrid working arrangements
- Increased support for clients to help them understand their business’ approach and risks in relation to ESG.
Expert Opinion“As a purpose-led business we measure our success according to the impact we have upon our key stakeholders, including our people and our planet. Our latest Responsible Business report provides a snapshot of the excellent work taking place across the group to deliver on our commitments to inclusion and sustainability.
“We recognise that working together in partnership with our stakeholders will place us in the strongest position to find solutions to the most critical shared societal and environmental challenges. With that in mind, I am delighted that Irwin Mitchell has become a signatory to the UN Global Compact, joining a global network of over 15,000 like-minded organisations and committing to working together to create change which will benefit us all.”
"The core of the United Nations Global Compact’s mission is to support companies doing business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with ten universal principles on human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption,” said Steve Kenzie, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network UK. “We also support business taking actions to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. We are delighted and encouraged by Irwin Mitchell’s endorsement of our initiative.” Kate Fergusson - Head of Responsible Business
The commitment to the UNGC is demonstrative of the firm’s commitment to working collaboratively to help individuals and businesses navigate life’s ups and downs – going beyond the provision of technical legal and financial advice to respond to client needs in a holistic way.
Research shows that clients are increasingly looking to businesses to show that they are being more responsible and striving to improve their ESG metrics; with 74% saying they would choose a supplier that has already implemented their own ESG strategies and 35% actively looking at options as to how to form their own strategies.
Expert Opinion“We know that clients, colleagues and our wider communities are looking at ESG measures and are asking businesses to prove that they are being more responsible. We’re taking the excellent work we’re doing internally and seeking to help more clients in this space, particularly around environmental regulation and cyber security support. It’s not enough to talk the talk, it’s crucial that Responsible Business is embedded throughout our growth plans as a business and we are having great conversations with clients and suppliers about how we can work together in future.” Victoria Brackett - Group Chief Commercial Officer