Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has set itself the target of reaching global net zero by 2040.

The firm's target is verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), providing a defined, long term pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. To deliver this commitment, at least 90% of the firm’s 2019 baseline emissions will be fully abated by 2040 at the latest.

SBTi is a global organisation which defines and promotes best practice in emissions reductions and net zero targets in line with climate science.

Pinsent Masons employs more than 3,500 staff globally, including approximately 570 lawyers and support staff at its offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Its target includes direct emissions resulting from business operations, indirect emissions associated with the generation of purchased electricity, and all other indirect emissions across global supply chains.

Pinsent Masons engaged environmental consultants WSP to undertake a detailed audit of its entire greenhouse gas inventory to calculate its baseline global carbon footprint. These findings have been used to shape the firm’s target and its strategy on how it will be achieved.

Practical solutions include the use of a smart buildings programme and demand side response technology to optimise energy performance and also use the flexible load of premises to help balance the electricity grid. The firm now also procures 100% of its energy for its offices in the UK and Ireland from renewable sources and has improved the reporting of emissions associated with business travel and the visibility of emissions.

Head of Pinsent Masons’ Climate & Sustainability Group, Michael Watson, commented: "Defining our targets and getting them verified by the SBTi gives us a comprehensive 360 degree view of our business and how we can minimise our impact on the environment. It is effectively the gold standard of accreditation that businesses can obtain for their net zero target, with the primary focus on making rapid, deep emissions cuts.

"The process of verification helps us get under the skin of our targets and define our strategy more meticulously. This is vital in ensuring we pursue our net zero ambitions effectively and authentically. 2040 strikes the right balance in our view between ambition and realism and is ahead of the Paris Agreement target date of 2050."