Our Environment

Simmons & Simmons recognises that our business activities have global and local environmental impacts. We are committed to measuring and reducing these impacts through proactive central management of our buildings and support activities, stakeholder engagement and investment in emerging clean technologies.

Our Environmental Policy forms the cornerstone of our activities to minimise our contribution to climate change and pollution, and supports the core environmental principles of the UN Global Compact. By engaging with our people, suppliers, communities and clients, we hope to foster change that stretches beyond our own boundaries. The programme of engagement to tackle air quality and pollution in London was shortlisted at the 2012 Law Society Excellence awards, and has been used as a model by many others. We are also committed to off-setting our unavoidable global emissions through investment into a managed portfolio of carbon reducing projects throughout the world.

Steven McNab quote


We are committed to continually improving our environmental performance. In 2013/14, we aim to reduce our annual travel, our waste, our utilities consumption and our Carbon Footprint by at least 5% per person across our global network of offices. Where we have unavoidable emissions, we will continue to support a managed portfolio of certified projects around the world to off-set and neutralise our impacts.

Being CarbonNeutral®

We work closely with the CarbonNeutral Company to ensure transparency and credibility of the projects we choose to invest in to offset our unavoidable emissions and retain our prestigious CarbonNeutral status.

All projects are certified or registered through the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CBBA), or the UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+).

This year we have invested in:

Kenya (REDD+, VCS, CBBA)

The tropical forests in the Kasigau Corridor are at risk from illegal deforestation to use as
unsustainable farmland. We have invested in a programme that protects this area and engages with the local communities to prevent illegal logging.

Our Environment Kenya

Pangelengan, Indonesia (CDM, VCS)

We are investing in a project to tap into an extensive geothermal reservoir adjacent to the Wayang Windu twin volcano set to deliver 950 GWh of additional, reliable, clean and renewable electricity to the state electricity grid.

Our Environment Indonesia

Tieling, China (VCS)

Carbon finance enables capturing and using methane escaping as part of the coal mining process as a source of fuel. During combustion, methane is converted into carbon dioxide and water, reducing its global warming potential by as much as 23 times.

Our Environment China

Phetchaburi, Thailand (VCS)

The carbon finance for this project has helped to overcome the technological and financial barriers to replace the coal fired system with a biomass boiler in a textile factory. The fuel is abundantly available in the area, and includes rice husk, wood chips, palm and coconut shells.

Our Environment Thailand

“The CarbonNeutral Company is proud of the long standing partnership enjoyed with Simmons & Simmons, and the achievements we have shared. The real, measurable steps Simmons & Simmons takes to mitigate climate change, demonstrates both commitment to the environment and leadership in their sector.” Rebecca Faye, Marketing Director, CarbonNeutral Company

Legal Sector Alliance (LSA)

We continue to support the LSA, an inclusive movement of law firms and organisations committed to working collaboratively to take action on climate change. We are an executive member of the LSA, and take leading roles on the Carbon Group, the Task Force and the Leaders’ Group.


Carbon Monitoring and Measurement

A strategy of measuring our carbon footprint, minimising our environmental impacts and offsetting our unavoidable emissions has been key to our successes in this area for many years. Combining a centralised programme of environmental efficiencies throughout our building operations, procurement and waste management with a concerted effort towards environmental pro bono has raised awareness and engagement across our business.

Centrally, we measure our global carbon footprint on an annual basis, and capture data from all three Greenhouse Gas Protocol “Scopes”:

Scope 1 – direct emissions to air (burning gas to heat our buildings, for example)
Scope 2 – indirect emissions from grid electricity use
Scope 3 – indirect emissions from waste, business travel and commuting

Our absolute Carbon Footprint increased by 4% this year, against the background of a significant headcount increase: our normalised carbon footprint per person reduced by 3%.


Supply Chain Management

We recognise the indirect environmental impact of our relationships with suppliers and contractors. We consider collaboration and knowledge-sharing to be the most successful driver of success in this area, and have hosted several CR round-table events with our key suppliers to debate the issues across sectors.

This year, we reached further into our supply chain to include third party suppliers in the roundtable discussion, led by Keith Cotton, director of CrispAir Solutions and Julian Taylor, partner in our employment group.

The discussion focused on air quality and employee welfare, specifically on the benefits of suppliers acting collaboratively to improve their performance, reduce their impact on the environment and ensure that their people are treated with fairness and respect.

“At BaxterStorey we wholeheartedly believe that doing business responsibly is the only way to do business. We hold ourselves to high standards and we commit to achieving them. Our environmental standing and innovations are not something we simply pay lip service to, but something that runs through the core of our business. We continuously work with Simmons & Simmons to demonstrate our commitment; these include, composting of organic waste, converting used cooking oil into bio-fuel, 100% sustainable sourced fish, 100% meat and dairy conforming to higher welfare standards, high use of use of seasonal produce, 100% free range shelled eggs and a commitment to source local food.” Mike Hanson, Head of Sustainability & Environmental Management, Baxter Storey

Environmental Policy

We have a global environment policy led by our Managing Partner, Jeremy Hoyland, and annually reviewed and approved by our senior management which commits us to continually improving our environmental performance and adopting a systematic approach to environmental best practice.

Our international environmental committee, comprising partners, associates, trainees and key managers in business services meets quarterly to discuss the environmental issues that face our business and develop a strategic approach to reducing our environmental impacts.

Staying certified – ISO14001

We successfully retained our certification to ISO14001 in the London and Hong Kong offices after completing the first three year cycle of continuous improvement. Certification to ISO14001 commits us to a cycle of continuous improvement, including self-audit and reducing pollution.

Pro Bono

Legal Response InitiativeLegal Response Initiative

During the course of 2012, Raj Bavishi, associate in Projects attended the UN climate change negotiations in Bonn, Bangkok and Doha as a legal advisor to the Chair of the Least Developed Countries. He advised the Chair on legal and procedural aspects of the negotiations and was involved in the negotiation of the amendments to the Kyoto Protocol that were adopted in Doha. Raj continues to act as LRI legal advisor and is on the LRI steering committee. Several trainees have advised in the LRI “situation room” assisting small developing countries during critical climate change negotiations.

Pure Logo Pure Leapfrog

We continue to support Pure Leapfrog, a charity founded in 2006 by one of our partners, Steven McNab. It is a unique business-led charity that channels free professional advice into carbon reduction projects. We have recently involved a team both in London and Bristol (John Sayers, Rosanna Piper, Wahidur Rahman and Owain Morgan) on a new project involving advice on structuring and implementation of tri-partite structures for the provision of energy efficiency financing to, in particular, social landlords. The Simmons & Simmons team were acting for the Bristol Energy Co-operative.

Additionally, our CR team together with Steve McNab is now working on a new initiative with Pure Leapfrog to supply and install solar panels and energy efficient lighting in schools. This exciting initiative would also serve as an educational tool to teach children the importance of renewable energy and carbon reduction.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Our Shanghai office has been appointed by the NRDC as legal advisors, led by partner, Lesli Ligorner.  The NRDC is an environmental action group seeking to safeguard the world’s natural resources. The New York Times called it “one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups.” The team advised NRDC on intern arrangements and relevant employment issues and the formation of a legal entity in China.

Global Witness

Global Witness is a non-governmental organisation that investigates and campaigns against conflict, corruption and other abuses in the natural resources industry. Julian Perlmutter, partner in our Corporate team and assisted by associate, Tara Waters provided legal advice to Global Witness on certain US and UK corporate and capital markets laws and regulations that could potentially impact the natural resources industry. In the first completed phase of this project, the team drafted a memorandum concerning such requirements as applicable to companies listed on the Professional Securities Market of the London Stock Exchange, as well as in relation to disclosure and reports made in connection with international securities offerings generally. The second, on-going phase of this project focuses on Global Witness’s efforts to make public the development and land-use contracts between governments and publicly-listed natural resources companies. The overall aim of this project is to increase Global Witness’s awareness and knowledge of relevant laws and regulations that may be used to promote transparency of the management and use of natural resources in developing countries.