As one of the UK's leading full-service City law firms, Travers Smith recognises that it has a responsibility to protect the environment; a responsibility we are proud of and take seriously.
Back in 2003, after conducting a detailed assessment of the firm's environmental impact, we became one of the first law firms in the UK to introduce an environmental management system (EMS).
With representatives from facilities management, the partnership, associates, trainees and wider business teams, our Environment Committee and our Environmental Board are jointly responsible for implementing the EMS.
This is achieved through a range of measures designed to minimise Travers Smith's environmental impact, including reducing our carbon footprint and meeting the environmental policy objectives outlined below.
Environmental Policy overview
At Travers Smith we have adopted a holistic approach to promoting waste recycling and energy reduction; our two main areas of environmental impact.
To achieve this we aim to:
- minimise our energy consumption
- utilise recycling options for waste paper, IT equipment, catering and maintenance waste
- source recycled and sustainable products where possible and discuss environmental considerations with our suppliers more generally
- promote awareness of environmental best practice among our employees and clients through communications and events
- regularly review our EMS
- communicate our environmental aims both internally and externally and collaborate more with wider environmental initiatives
- set achievable objectives to minimise the firm's environmental impact and measure the firm's progress against these objectives
- review and update this environmental policy statement at regular intervals.
All of our waste is split into different streams at the point of disposal. In 2018, the firm introduced new recycling bins in our staff restaurant and every kitchen, as well as additional recycling stations on all floors, allowing staff to split rubbish into general waste, mixed recycling or food waste.
In January 2020, our café, Braithwaite's, removed all single-use plastic and replaced it with reusable alternatives. In addition, staff are also now entitled to a discount on purchases of hot drinks if they bring in their own re-usable cup/mug.
Here are a few helpful steps we would recommend members of staff should follow to reduce waste and stop cross contamination:
- use your own or the firm's ceramic/re-usable coffee cups, plates or cutlery wherever possible
- all disposable coffee cups (purchased from outside Travers Smith) should go into the specially provided standalone bins in each kitchen
- use waste bins provided and split waste accordingly
- rinse out any plastic containers before placing in the recycling bins
- if food packaging cannot be cleaned/rinsed of food then place in general waste
- depleted batteries should be disposed of using the recycling bins situated in Braithwaite's and General Office.
We are fully committed to achieving 'nil to landfill', and therefore also recycle confidential waste, batteries, toner and cartridges, fluorescent tubes, other electrical waste and cardboard and glass.
Travers Smith was awarded a Recycling Gold Standard Award in 2017 by waste management company First Mile. Out of 20,000 commercial customers in London, the firm finished in third place with 98 per cent of our waste being recycled.
All of the firm's general waste is sent to the Belvedere Incinerator, which converts the waste into clean energy to power up to 100,000 homes every year. The leftover ash is turned into products to be used to build roads all over the UK.
We are committed to reducing our paper consumption and have introduced a number of initiatives such as 'follow-me-print' to help achieve this goal, which requires staff to re-confirm they want an item printed after it is sent to one of our floor multi-function printers.
To help reduce our paper consumption members of staff should print double sided whenever it is possible.
Where members of staff require assistance setting up their default printing preferences please contact the Print Services or Tech Support teams who will be more than willing to help.
All our paper is Forest Stewardship Council certified giving us the confidence that we at Travers Smith are helping our forests survive for generations to come.
Our built environment and energy consumption
We recognise that our built environment (i.e. our offices and facilities) affects our carbon footprint in a significant way.
With this in mind, during the refurbishment of our London offices, real consideration was given to the most energy efficient building management systems and products that we could implement. This includes dedicated technology that manages air (sampling system), water, heating, air-conditioning and our electrical system.
We will be issuing a quarterly report on the effects of the following activities on our carbon footprint: energy usage; waste and recycling; stationery; and business travel. This report will allow us to develop targets and actions to support our continued approach to carbon reduction within the business and its practices.
Our office is supported by a number of other environmentally friendly products and processes such as:
- LED luminaires and a light control system with motion sensors
- energy efficient heating and cooling systems with energy efficient fans
- air volume monitoring to reduce consumption
- improved insulation to existing structure, façade and ceiling voids.
We use a third party to procure green energy contracts. Energy monitoring reports and market watch reports are produced on a regular basis and are reviewed by the Travers Smith Facilities team.
As part of our energy efficiency drive, Travers Smith is committed to meeting the requirements of ISO 50001 – an internationally recognised accreditation that requires the use of an energy management system with a main purpose of using energy more efficiently. The standard is based on a management model of continual improvement, requiring the development and updating of an energy policy, establishing goals to meet the policy, utilising data to meet such goals and measuring policy effectiveness.
Whilst, physically speaking, Travers Smith has a limited international footprint, our business and clients are global. Given this reality, the partners and other members of staff are required to take short and long-haul flights from time to time.
We already look to limit unnecessary international trips; however, where this is not possible, we will be considering over the coming year ways to further reduce our impact in this regard, including encouraging rail travel (where appropriate and safe to do so) and the introduction of carbon offsetting.
The Travers Smith client kitchen
Our commitment to sustainability is bolstered by the Travers Smith client kitchen which holds a 2* rating (out of 3*) from the Sustainable Restaurant Association due to its commitment to using local and seasonal produce, serving more vegetables, less and better quality meat, responsibly resourced fish, and supporting global farmers as well as the local community.
Natural resources are valued and the client kitchen is careful to avoid food waste and to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible (examples include using beeswax wrappers instead of cling film and sending candle ends to be recycled in Devon). The team works closely with Facilities to ensure practices are as sustainable as possible, e.g. using eco-friendly cleaning products.
Our wider approach to sustainability and corporate social responsibility
We work alongside our clients on environmentally friendly initiatives. For example, as part of our work for the London Wildlife Trust, a team of 13 volunteers took part in a conservation day at the Camley Street nature reserve.
We continue to participate in the Legal Sector Alliance Group, having won the Legal Sector Alliance Award in Environmental Responsibility in 2010.
As part of our 2018 Environmental Awareness Week, we provided reusable coffee cups to all staff members and are phasing out single-use plastics throughout the firm.
More generally, the firm is fully committed to promoting sustainable business and CSR.
We launched our own Sustainable Business hub in June 2020, which includes resources designed to help businesses anticipate regulatory developments, proactively manage risk and achieve sustainable business objectives.
For more information on our CSR programme, please click here.
Looking to the future
Whilst great progress has already been made at Travers Smith to help protect the environment, the firm recognises that sustainability must be an ongoing objective in order to have a real environmental impact.
We are fully committed to meeting this challenge and actively encourage all current and future members of the Travers Smith team to join us in meeting our goals.
For further details on Travers Smith's environmental initiatives, please contact our Sustainability and Health & Safety Officer, Paul Mullis.
Last updated: July 2020