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CMS Science Based Targets approved by SBTi

13 August 2020

International law firm CMS is pleased to announce that the firm’s Science Based Targets have been officially approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

The SBTi is an organisation formed by the United Nations, World Wide Fund for Nature, CDP and others to encourage and measure corporate climate action. This independent verification confirms that CMS’s targets for reducing its carbon emissions meet SBTi’s latest criteria and align with the UN goals to limit a global temperature rise to 1.5˚C.

The firm’s Science Based Targets focus on a 30% reduction of emissions by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030 for both its own operations (known as Scope 1 and 2 targets), as well as for its supply chain (known as Scope 3 targets). The firm will offset remaining emissions to go net zero by 2025 and is also exploring options to go net negative and address its historical carbon debt.

Penelope Warne, the Senior Partner at CMS, comments: “Climate change is a priority for our firm, our clients and our communities. By setting our Science Based Targets earlier this year, we made an important public commitment to reducing our carbon emissions and reaching net zero by 2025. SBTi’s independent verification confirms that by focusing on these targets, CMS will be on track to help deliver these important climate change goals.” 

Barbara Mendler, Managing Director of Operations and Projects, adds: “We are very pleased that SBTi have verified our Science Based Targets. These targets are already helping us to focus our attention and efforts on the practical behavioural changes and operational improvements that make a real and lasting difference to the firm’s carbon emissions. We are also working with our suppliers to both raise awareness and offer support on how best to improve supply chain sustainability.” 

The firm has introduced a programme of over 20 workstreams to address Climate Change and Sustainability and is already acting to meet its Science Based Targets. Examples include:

  • renegotiating electricity contracts to maximise supply from renewable sources – seven of the firm’s eight UK offices now run on 100% renewable electricity;
  • the firm’s Procurement team leading a review of suppliers’ carbon reduction commitments and working with them to develop sustainability workshops to share best practice in the supply chain;
  • considering further energy efficiency measures in its buildings; 
  • disclosing its UK carbon reduction activity to CDP (the well-known and respected, independent, not-for-profit benchmarking organisation) which this year ranked the firm ‘B’ for its own activity and ‘A-’ for the work it is doing with suppliers;
  • raising awareness of climate change risk across all practice areas;
  • launching a mobile app to help over 3,200 of its people assess their own carbon footprints;
  • using a print awareness tool to gamify paper saving across the firm, working with PrintReleaf to plant over 2,000 trees and counting to offset paper usage, using Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, and ensuring all paper is recyclable;
    developing a CR programme to support environmental volunteering for its people and clients.