Bristol law firms praised for being champions of sustainability in new UK green legal report

November 25, 2022

Four major law firms with offices in Bristol have been praised for making a positive contribution to the UK’s green transition in a ground-breaking new legal sector report.

TLT, Osborne Clarke, Womble Bond Dickinson and Foot Anstey are included in the inaugural Legal 500 UK Green Guide, which highlights the firms that are leading the way in engaging with sustainability.

The 27 firms in the report were selected due to their recent work on sustainability-related mandates, internal sustainability-related initiatives and information about the team and individual lawyers’ engagement with sustainability. 

Anna Bauböck, Green Guide editor at Legal 500, said: “We believe that ESG (environmental, social and governance), sustainability and climate change-related work is a rapidly growing part of law firms’ service offering as well as business strategy, and that firms’ sustainability credentials will continue to gain in importance.

“Our guide aims to be not only an observer but a driver of this development by recognising actions that have been taken and achievements that have been made in this space.”

Bristol-headquartered TLT’s recent achievements highlighted by the guide include having its science-based emissions reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as the most ambitious targets in the industry.

The firm, which employs round 1,200 people across six offices, has also achieved ISO 14001 – the internationally agreed standard for effective environmental management systems and was also again ranked as a global-leading adviser to the future energy sector by Clean Energy Pipeline, based on project finance and merger & acquisition data.

TLT head of future energy and real estate Maria Connolly, who is also executive board member responsible for sustainability, said: “As a leading adviser to the future energy sector for more than 20 years, sustainability has long been a part of who we are as a firm.

“We have an ambitious approach to sustainability and are continuing to push hard on net zero and other areas like nature positivity, and we are delighted to have been included in this important new guide.”

International firm Osborne Clarke’s UK environment team is headed by Matthew Germain, a partner in its Bristol office.

He said being a responsible and ethical business and employer underpinned the firm’s business strategy, with the Osborne Clarke For Good framework its way of ensuring it was a good corporate citizen, good employer and a good business.

The firm, which employs around 800 people in Bristol and also has offices in London and Reading, joined more than 200 businesses in signing up to a business statement pledging to help keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C during the recent COP27 climate summit.

It also launched its first Decarbonisation Week with a series of events targeted at international businesses with ambitious carbon reduction goals, and recently sponsored the 2022 World EV Day – a global campaign established to accelerate the transition to zero emission electric vehicles around the world.

Its Bristol base is moving from Temple Quay to Halo at Finzels Reach, which is set to be one of the UK’s most sustainable offices.

The Legal 500 UK Green Guide highlights Foot Anstey’s fast-growing energy practice, which has a particular strength in solar energy and energy storage, and has increased its work in connection with EV infrastructure and mobility where it acts for multiple rapid EV charging operators.

Bristol-based energy practice head Chris Pritchett chairs the Energy Storage Network’s Markets and Revenues Group and was invited to sit on the steering group of the government’s Energy Data Task Force

The firm, which employs more than 500 people across its offices in Bristol, Exeter, London, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro, has advised on major solar projects in Spain and Portugal for WELink and floating river-hydro plants in Myanmar as well as on a £1.6bn battery infrastructure project and energy superhub projects in Oxford and the West Midlands.

Transatlantic firm Womble bond Dickinson, whose Bristol office is the second largest of the firm’s seven UK bases, has been a specialist in clean and renewable energy for more than 30 years and has advised on a full range of issues and developments in this area from carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) to a floating offshore wind project in Devon.

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