Scottish business community can deliver a sustainable future

Later this month CMS is joining forces with The Scotsman to bring together leading business and academic figures for the Leadership for a Sustainable Future event. Insights will be shared by a range of specialists including Zoë Arden, Fellow, Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership; James Withers, CEO, Scotland Food & Drink; Liz Lowe, Head Of Sustainability, Great Britain, The Coca-Cola Company; and Andrew Cave, Head of Governance & Sustainability at Baillie Gifford.

During this time of great uncertainty it’s more important than ever that businesses retain their focus on sustainability. While we will ultimately overcome the significant challenges being presented by Covid-19 and potentially Brexit, we must also keep our eyes on the bigger picture: safeguarding a long term future for the planet recognising that sustainability and economic progress go hand in hand is essential for everyone’s future prosperity.

The Leadership for a Sustainable Future event will address key issues around this theme, looking at how we deliver sustainability across the economy. We will be exploring the benefits to business in successfully promoting positive change, highlighting the importance of collaboration between sectors to share best practice and embed sustainability leadership.

These principles all apply to businesses here in Scotland. We will be discussing how Scottish organisations can really make a significant contribution towards sustainability by setting meaningful ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) goals across their business. I will also be sharing some insights from CMS, where we not only advise a wide range of global clients on ESG commitments, but have also embraced these ourselves.

Earlier this year CMS introduced a programme of over 20 workstreams to address climate change and sustainability across our global operations. We’ve been the first global law firm to announce a commitment to and then set Science Based Targets to reduce our carbon emissions and have set an ambitious goal to be Net Zero by 2025. As part of that process we are renegotiating electricity contracts to maximise supply from renewable sources. I’m pleased to say that seven of our eight UK offices now run on 100% renewable electricity. We’re now looking at other energy efficiency measures to further reduce consumption in our buildings.

Additionally, our procurement team is currently leading a review of suppliers’ carbon reduction commitments, working with them to develop sustainability workshops to share best practice in the supply chain. Within the firm we are raising awareness of climate change risk across all practice areas and launched a mobile app to help our colleagues assess their own carbon footprints, enabling them to make an individual contribution to sustainability.

To support our ESG commitment, we are working with the CDP, a globally respected, independent not-for-profit benchmarking organisation which evaluates and ranks our efforts. This year they awarded us a ‘B’ ranking for our own activity and ‘A-’ for the work we’re doing with suppliers; an encouraging position and one we aim to build on going forward.

We are living through difficult times, but we must ensure addressing climate change remains a central priority for us all. The Leadership for a Sustainable Future event will set out how we can take effective action to benefit our businesses, our people and the wider global community. We hope you can join us on 25 November.

Allan Wernham, Managing Director, CMS Scotland

To register for the free Leadership for a Sustainable Future event, which takes place between 1pm and 2.15pm on Wednesday, 25 November, click here.