Environmental Sustainability Is A key Driver In Creating Long-Term Value In Your Business
In the modern business world, an effective environmental strategy should form an integral part of every organisation’s approach to the sector in which it operates. This should involve prioritising the transparency and reporting of aims and achievements and partnering key stakeholders on a collective journey to net-zero.
In addition to demonstrating a commitment to addressing the huge challenges posed particularly by climate change and global biodiversity loss and behaving ethically and responsibly, an effective strategy should not be underestimated as a means of delivering tangible benefits to an organisation’s overall reputation and its bottom line.
It’s important to ensure any business operates within the law and a clear approach to environmental policy reduces any chance of liabilities cropping up and helps to foster trust and collaboration with others, including clients, investors, employees and wider stakeholders.
The risk of greenwashing i.e. making claims about environmental credentials that are unsubstantiated or exaggerated is something every business must be aware of. To minimise such risks, it’s important that environmental management and a commitment to sustainability is embedded within the business.
In addition to seeking external independent expertise and advice, targets within those strategies and policies should, wherever possible, be independently verified and/or assessed by a respected and independent external auditor.
Such external audits and verification processes can take time to arrange, but the investment is well worth the effort, as association with businesses making questionable environmental claims risks reputational damage and could impact the credibility your workforce has about your environmental ambitions.
Irwin Mitchell launched its own ambitious environmental strategy a year ago and in the last 12 months, we have made significant progress to start addressing some of the risks outlined above.
Priorities in the first year included improving reporting and transparency of aims, achievements and performance; starting to work with our suppliers to better understand their environmental impacts (and efforts to reduce them), seeking external verification of our targets and building an understanding of how we might support our clients with their own transition to net-zero. We are now starting the task of developing our net zero transition plan working collaboratively across the business to pull together all the plans we will need to achieve our own environmental aspirations.
Irwin Mitchell’s near-term and long-term net-zero targets were verified with the SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative) earlier this year, ensuring our actions are in line with the latest science and placing the firm alongside a community of organisations taking practical steps to deliver a Net-Zero Economy.
Alongside this work, Irwin Mitchell also launched its own Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) advisory service, to aid corporate and institutional clients with to address their own ESG challenges and objectives.
Our role has to make sure we lead by example and encourage more businesses to seize the advantages behaving responsibly and embedding environmental management strategies across their operations, whilst working in partnership with our clients and suppliers to explore opportunities to learn from others and drive a collaborative approach to working together to achieve our net zero ambitions.
Of critical importance, is the recognition that our work in this space is a long-term commitment. Our environmental management strategy outlines a series of actions in five core areas in the coming years. This includes the promotion of energy efficiency and continued progress to reaching 100% renewable electricity in our leasehold offices, various interventions to manage business travel emissions and supply chain engagement efforts to tackle the significant impact of purchased goods and services.
We recognise the value of sharing our experiences and hopefully inspiring new conversations and opportunities for collaboration. If you are interested in finding out more about our approach to environmental sustainability, you can find case studies and further examples in our 2023 Responsible Business Report.