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Transitioning to Net Zero for Professional Services 

by Shoosmiths LLP

Published: November, 2021

Submission: November, 2021


We are very excited to be supporting the UN Global Compact Network UK’s ‘Transitioning to a Net Zero’ webinar series.

On Tuesday 19 October 2021, the ‘Transitioning to Net Zero for Professional Services’ webinar took place. In this webinar our Chairperson, Peter Duff, discussed the challenges facing professional services firms in setting and reaching net zero targets. Other guest speakers on the panel were:

The key takeaway points are set out below along with the webinar recording:

  • To enable companies to align their near- and long- term climate action with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has recently launched an economy-wide ‘Corporate Net-Zero Standard’, which provides a credible and independent assessment of corporate net zero target setting.
  • Emissions from business travel and office/building energy consumption can make up a significant amount of professional services firms’ carbon footprint.
    • Sustainable travel policies, such as Shoosmiths’ levy on air travel, can be implemented to discourage unnecessary business travel.
    • Renewable power purchase agreements can be an effective way to procure renewable energy to reduce office-related emissions.
    • Additionally, companies may consider working with their landlords and shared occupants of an office building to encourage the switch to renewable energy.
  • Professional services firms will generally require deep decarbonisation of 90-95% to reach net zero, with neutralisation of remaining emissions. The recently published SBTi ‘Corporate Net-Zero Standard’ provides advice on emissions neutralisation.
  • As well as reducing their own emissions, professional services firms can encourage and support the reduction of emissions across the economy through conversations with their clients and suppliers. They may also choose to work more closely with high carbon-emitting clients to help reduce their emissions.
    • Shoosmiths conduct roundtables to enable their clients to advance climate-related initiatives and explore the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainability agendas within businesses.
    • Accenture ask suppliers to provide updates on the progress which they are making on their own environmental initiatives.
    • Grant Thornton share their climate related knowledge with other businesses by hosting webinars. These webinars look at how businesses can best manage the financial risks of climate change.

Resources referenced during the event:


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