News and Publications

Sustainability – caring for the planet and our clients

Posted: 09/08/2022

Climate change has long been headline news but, in recent years, there has been a call to action, and it is evident that we need to take responsibility for changing the catastrophic course we are currently on before it is too late. As we all become more aware of the social, environmental, and economic impact of our decisions, we are becoming more selective about who we work with, and sustainability credentials are an increasingly important factor to consider.

Barack Obama was famously quoted as saying: “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” Sir David Attenborough, meanwhile, has commented: “We have become the greatest threat to the health of our home but there’s still time for us to address the challenges we’ve created, if we act now.”

At Penningtons Manches Cooper, we are proud to be Planet Mark Certified, and to be part of a growing community working towards organisational change and implementing more environmentally sustainable practices. 

Over the last three years, we have reduced the firm’s operational carbon footprint significantly, and are constantly striving to become more sustainable. Comparing 2020 to 2021, our electricity consumption reduced by 46% and our travel costs by 92%. Our total carbon reduction in 2021, compared to the previous year, was 58.3%. This reduction was largely due to the restrictions put in place during the pandemic, but we are nevertheless extremely proud of this reduction and are keen to keep moving in the right direction. 

We understand that there is always more to be done and are actively reviewing our infrastructure and supply chain and working to reduce our emissions. We have recently pledged to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to set targets demonstrating our commitment to reaching net zero and aligning with the Paris agreement. You can read more about the firm’s sustainability policy here.

The United Nations has set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and our Planet Mark report confirms which SDGs we are currently supporting through measuring, reporting and reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

In the clinical negligence team specifically, our practices have dramatically changed in recent years to become more sustainable: 

  • All new files are now opened as electronic files so no paper is required.
  • As much correspondence as possible is sent by email including advice to clients, correspondence with defendants, instructions to experts and counsel and, where the court allows, court bundles.
  • Court documents are electronically filed on the court system.
  • We request that all medical records are sent to us electronically.
  • All medical records are held electronically on a secure, cloud based system which can easily be shared with the client, experts and counsel.
  • The majority of meetings, conferences and shorter court hearings take place using video-conferencing rather than in person.
  • Our flexible working policy allows the team to regularly work from home which reduces commuting.

There are other SDGs which are not yet measured but which are equally important to our work, including health and wellbeing, and justice and strong institutions. Through the work that we do in the clinical negligence team, we strive to achieve justice for patients who have suffered injury from substandard treatment, and we work to ensure that, as far as possible, their future health and wellbeing is protected by obtaining compensation. As part of the work that we do, we help to identify patterns of failure which in turn facilitates learning and, hopefully, a change in procedures to reduce future harm. 

Sarah Hibberd, a specialist clinical negligence associate, comments: “At Penningtons Manches Cooper, we are committed to sustainable development, which means we care about the planet and our clients. Due to the very nature of our work in the clinical negligence team, our clients have often experienced highly traumatic events and have either suffered significant injury themselves, or are experiencing bereavement due to the untimely loss of a loved one. We pride ourselves on being a team that cares deeply and works hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients, which is reflected in our client testimonials and the fact that our clients recommend us to their friends and family.”   

While we are building sustainability into our own business practices, we also recognise that our clients and colleagues will be seeking to do the same and that they may need legal advice in order to do so. As part of our commitment to addressing climate change, we have developed a specialist multi-disciplinary team advising clients how best to respond to the sustainability challenges they might encounter. 

Our team can help ensure that clients are complying with current legal requirements and commitments, assessing and mitigating risks and anticipating future developments. Importantly, they can also advise on creating the legal frameworks required to deliver sustainability objectives and can assist with sustainable investments, finance products and commercialising new innovations.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP