European law firm, Fieldfisher has published its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report for 2023, which highlights contributions from the firm’s Birmingham office for the first time.

It is the third comprehensive statement on Fieldfisher’s ESG activities across the international firm, which now has offices in 12 countries across the globe.

Major contributions from the Birmingham hub are noted in the report, which details substantial progress for the firm in key areas including carbon footprint reporting, pro bono activity, inclusion, equity and diversity, engagement of its people and charitable giving.

Regional initiatives include raising more than £35,000 for Coventry-based hospice, Zoe’s Place; creating opportunities for underrepresented young people with a route into law through the Gensler Diverse Legal Launchpad internship programme; and sponsoring the Responsible Data Science MSc at University of Birmingham, which looks to enhance equality, diversity and accessibility to the legal and tech sectors.

As part of its graduate recruitment programmes, the office has links with universities across the Midlands region, offering both Diversity Access Schemes as well as training contracts for successful applicants.
Highlights of the 2023 report include:

Environmental
• Expansion of carbon footprint reporting to 13 offices internationally, including its Birmingham hub.
• Reporting on Scope 3 emissions for purchased goods and services for the first time.
• Reduction of building-related emissions by 9.5% and emissions from waste by 27%, compared with 2021/22.
• Hosting an inaugural IT Sustainability Week to educate colleagues on adopting IT-related environmental practices to improve workplace sustainability.
• Delivery of ESG upskilling training to colleagues in five countries.

Community
• £526,000 was donated to global causes through the firm-wide One Firm Action fundraising initiative, £35,000 of which was raised by the Birmingham team.
• 11 new official charity partnerships were made across 10 offices, including the Birmingham office’s chosen charity, Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.
• Over £1 million-worth of pro bono support was provided.
• Fieldfisher hosted its first Inclusiveness and Diversity Summit for clients, with panel discussions hosted by Birmingham Office Lead, Ranjit Dhindsa.

People
• Sponsored by its Race, Inclusion, Support & Education employee network, the firm ran an educational programme to raise awareness of challenges faced by under-represented ethnic groups in the legal sector.
• Fieldfisher partnered with City Century, a collaboration of 50 City Law firms, to significantly increase the number of solicitor apprentices entering the City of London.
• The first cohort of solicitor apprentices qualified in 2023 and 19 non-legal apprentices were welcomed through Fieldfisher’s newly established Apprentice Career Excellence (ACE) Programme. The Birmingham office is looking to expand its cohort further for 2024, as part of its wider growth strategy.
• Fieldfisher won the Disability Initiative of the Year Award at the Women and Diversity in Law Awards 2023, for Discover, its market-leading disability network.

Governance
• The first international Associate Engagement Project was delivered.
• A series of priority actions to enhance collaboration across our offices was devised.
• Enterprise Risk Management continued to be embedded across the entire integrated firm.

Commenting on the publication of the firm’s 2023 ESG Report, Ranjit Dhindsa, Head of Employment, Pensions, Immigration and Compliance (EPIC), Birmingham Office Leader at Fieldfisher and Special Advisor to local social enterprise business, Miss Macaroon said:

“As a law firm, we are collectively striving for authenticity, and this report shows the importance we place on establishing the right governance, culture, and values, to create a meaningful business environment for our clients and colleagues.

“I am proud that there are so many passionate people in my team who are committed to upholding our core company values: putting people at the forefront of all we do, embracing ESG to leave things better than we found them, and using collaboration as the catalyst for success.”

Robert Shooter, Managing Partner of Fieldfisher said:

“Our thinking on ESG has developed significantly since I became Managing Partner two years ago. Last year, I outlined some of our core ESG principles and areas of focus, and I am pleased to say we upheld and made progress against all of these in 2023.

“These include expanding our carbon footprint reporting across our European network, launching new inclusion, equity and diversity initiatives, and making decisive moves on sustainable premises and business travel.

“In 2024, we’re excited to be centralising our ESG function as a core department within the firm. We are also embarking on new sustainability initiatives, as well as expanding on the success of our flagship Rooting for Change programme and looking forward to our next One Firm Action challenge.”