DWF, the global legal business, has published its ESG Strategy. The launch of the strategy follows a comprehensive review of business processes and behaviours alongside the completion of an independent Materiality Assessment. It therefore reflects the ESG issues most important to all stakeholders of the Group. It includes ambitious science-based targets through which the Group commits to reducing carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, along with stretched targets to further improve the Group's diversity and inclusion.
The group ESG Strategy has six priority areas:
Climate action: Becoming a net zero business within a low carbon economy.
Diversity and inclusion: Accelerating progress to improve representation and diverse talent pipelines.
Empowering colleagues and our communities: Sustaining a skilled workforce today and for the future, continuing to prioritise colleague health and wellbeing, and taking action to help and collaborate with communities in need.
Supporting and connecting with our clients: Being clear and transparent about how we can help clients to improve their sustainability performance through an ESG-centric approach.
Acting with integrity in everything that we do: Taking ownership and holding ourselves accountable for the way we do business.
Building trust and increasing transparency: Enhancing the credibility of our own ESG disclosure, consistent with our purpose of delivering positive outcomes with our colleagues, clients and communities.
Sir Nigel Knowles, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"I am pleased to announce our group ESG Strategy, through which we have set a number of ambitious new targets to drive progress across our business, particularly in relation to climate action and equality, diversity and inclusion.
"The increased emphasis on ESG and the expectations of businesses to respond appropriately are both welcome and necessary. The challenges facing the world are substantial, in some cases daunting, but all businesses have a responsibility to do more to tackle them, by ensuring that we operate responsibly and contribute positively to a sustainable future for generations to come.
"As the only Main Market listed legal business, this position gives DWF a unique perspective on ESG. We share the scrutiny and transparency that regulators, and all stakeholders, expect from clients and have learned important lessons about implementing effective ESG policies. This also means committing to consistent high performance around ESG is fundamental to our success as a firm, specifically in terms of delivering our Group strategy, realising commercial advantage, and in retaining and attracting key talent.
"Doing the right thing defines who we are and integrity is essential to everything we do. The strategy we launch today is consistent with our purpose-led approach to business and has the engagement of and accountability from our PLC and Executive Boards, along with all levels of leadership right across our business."
• Reduce Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2030.
• Increase the proportion of women on the PLC and Executive Boards to at least 40% by 2025, with the same target applying to the proportion of women in all senior management roles.
• In the UK, increase the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues across senior management to at least 10% by 2025.
• In the UK, increase the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues across all career bands to at least 13% by 2025.
• In the UK, increase Black representation overall and in senior roles to at least 3% by 2025.
Kirsty Rogers, Head of ESG at DWF, said:
"Our strategy and targets provide a framework that will ensure there is a sustained commitment and focus on how we do business, and for driving change for a better future for all our stakeholders.
“We have set and are committed to targets that we know will be challenging but believe that our colleagues will want to be part of a sustainable solution. A 50% reduction in emissions, especially in Scope 3, relies on changes in behaviour from everybody, but this is necessary given the scale and urgency of action required. We are focussed on working with our colleagues to educate, engage and support everyone with our shared aim.
"In addition to our stretched diversity and inclusion targets, alongside our work on equality, we are also committed to improving our pay gap reporting. This will mean extending our existing UK gender pay gap reporting so that it is a global report and ensuring that we have pay gap reporting across all other aspects of inclusion, not just gender."
Remuneration and governance
Our commitment to ESG is reflected by the inclusion of ESG objectives in the performance requirements of the Executive Directors of the PLC board, ensuring that their remuneration is connected to delivery of the strategy.
Direction of the ESG Leadership team comes from Matthew Doughty, Chief Operating Officer and Kirsty Rogers, Head of ESG, with all members of the Executive Board expected to consider their responsibilities through the lens of ESG.
Our continued progress in achieving our KPIs will be reported annually within our annual report and accounts and also in a separate annual ESG report.