Magic circle diverges on green issues

The magic circle firms are taking diverse approaches to tackling green issues.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has just been awarded firmwide carbon-neutral status by the Carbon Neutral Company.

The 17,501 tonnes of greenhouse gas the firm emitted in 2005-06 have been offset by supporting schemes such as a solar water-heating scheme and a mini hydro power project in India.

It is estimated that it costs somewhere between £7 and £10 to buy an offset credit per tonne of carbon.

Meanwhile, Allen & Overy said in its annual report that it does “not want to offset our carbon output, but reduce it”.

The firm’s London offices are environmentally friendly, but there has been no worldwide initiative. It is now in the middle of a review assessing its global environmental impact.

So far Freshfields is the only globally carbon-neutral magic circle firm. It also wants to reduce its emissions, as well as offset them: a target of 10 per cent reduction by April has been set.

Linklaters, although not officially carbon-neutral, instigated an environmental audit in 2002 and its London offices have been using renewable energy and electricity-saving devices ever since. It, too, is instigating a global review.

In contrast, Clifford Chance is yet to take a stance. It has employed environmental consultancy WSP Consulting to undertake a review, which is due to wrap up in spring 2008. The firm said it would make a decision then on its environmental strategy.