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Law firm encourages staff to adopt green behaviours and reduces energy consumption

Every year Shoosmiths LLP reviews its environmental responsibility and sets objectives. This maintains a focus on reducing the environmental impact of its operations and includes a target to reduce electricity and gas consumption by 3% year on year.

Shoosmiths LLP is a major UK law firm with an office in Edinburgh and over 1,300 staff working nationwide. It has worked with high-profile clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Krispy Kreme and a growing number of the FTSE 250 companies.

The firm has proven how achieving ‘green’ objectives is easier by openly and continually communicating its long-term commitment to resource efficiency and integrating it into operational priorities and objectives.

Success starts with good planning and setting objectives. Corporate responsibility is one of the company’s five priorities, so it’s integral to what Shoosmiths is and what it does as a business.

The firm has an aspiration to be recognised by all its stakeholders as an organisation that strives to be a responsible corporate citizen. Each year environmental responsibilities are reviewed and objectives set. This ensures a focus on reducing the environmental impact of its business. Plus they have a target to reduce electricity and gas consumption by 3% year on year.

Resource efficiency is part of the company culture

Shoosmiths makes and communicates clear and visible commitments that demonstrate to staff and customers that acting responsibly, such as using energy, water and raw materials efficiently, is part of the company culture and a core expectation of staff. Knowing that efforts to use resources more efficiently at work is part of the company ethos means that staff are much more likely to adopt resource efficient practices.

How they keep staff engaged

Shoosmiths communicates with staff about resource efficiency through its employee forum, e-mails, intranet briefings, monthly team briefings, executive updates, biannual chief executive presentations, and staff surveys and votes. Multiple communications channels ensure that everyone gets the message.

For new starters, their induction includes corporate responsibility training.

Staff are trained on the firm’s approach to environmental management and the role they play. Comprehensive and on-going, learning and development continues in seminars, workshops, online learning, mentoring and through coaching.

 Staff actively participate in resource management

Shoosmiths proactively engages with staff on resource efficiency which is part of the culture. Staff are trained, regularly reminded and better yet, rewarded for resource efficient behaviours.

Success is celebrated and staff rewarded

To encourage staff to keep-up resource efficient behaviours, it is vital that successes, no matter how small, are celebrated and staff are thanked for their efforts.

Shoosmiths have a dynamic corporate responsibility blog – ‘SHOUTBACK’ featuring around 100 stories each year about fundraising, volunteering, pro bono and environmental activities. Resource efficiency successes such as a reduction in gas consumption of about 4% across the company’s self-managed sites in 2013/2014 was celebrated.

The blog provides immediate staff feedback with employees encouraged to contribute to the blog, to develop a sense of ownership. For staff who’ve not as yet adopted a resource efficient attitude, there is a peer-pressure effect with colleagues demonstrating the positive role they play and how they are part of something worthwhile.

An employee recognition scheme called ‘Above and Beyond’ incentivises staff to take part. Since launch in 2010, over 200 nominations have been received within the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Corporate Responsibility’ category. In addition, all staff are also offered one paid day per year to volunteer in the local community.

The extent of staff participation in corporate responsibility activities demonstrates high levels of awareness and support for corporate responsibility issues, including resource efficiency. This is very likely to have a positive impact on resource consumption.

“Maintaining a constant dialogue with staff and giving them ownership of corporate responsibility through their direct involvement in practical volunteering and themed campaigns has had a significant positive effect on how they perceive resource efficiency and their role in making a real impact.” Nicola Ellen, Corporate Responsibility Consultant, Shoosmiths LLP.

Environmental and sustainability campaigns

The company supports established global and national sustainability campaigns. To help prevent food waste it promoted the ‘Think. Eat. Save’ campaign in support of the UN Secretary-General’s 2013 Zero Hunger Challenge. Staff were given tips to help them reduce food waste in the workplace. For national Climate Week, staff were provided with advice on re-use and the location of charity shops where they could take unwanted household items. Competitions were run to test staff knowledge about climate change.

Piggybacking on existing, well-publicised campaigns serves to reinforce sustainability messaging that staff are getting from outside of work and helps them to make connections between green actions at home and at work.

One of the best ways to engage staff is to lead activities with a Green Team. Our free, online Green Champions training provides all the help you need, and more to help your company run a greener business, lessen your environmental impact and reduce your operating costs.

Emulate their success in your own business

Start your Green Champions learning today. Foundation, practical and advanced modules are available. 

Our support is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

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