Air travel worst offender in firms’ carbon counts

Air travel worst offender in firms' carbon countsThirty-two law firms make up the vast majority of the 50 professional services firms that have audited independently their carbon footprints, a survey of 1,200 professional services firms by the Managing Partners’ Forum (MPF) has revealed.

The research also found that firms with international client bases emitted more than twice as much CO2-equivalent gas per member of staff than those with national client bases only.

Most of these amounts come from air travel, said MPF executive director Richard ;Chaplin, ;who added that one partner at a global firm had taken part in only one video-conference in 18 months.

“At the Big Four accountants, the travel element is making up 90 per cent of the total [carbon output],” he said. “But what you find is that management focuses on the remaining 10 per cent, not on the 90 per cent made up by air travel, because it’s politically difficult to go into.”

By contrast, the Legal Sector Alliance was recently launched in an attempt to get the entire legal profession to self-assess its carbon footprint (The Lawyer, 28 April).