At Sidley, we are committed to doing our part to ensure a sustainable future by conducting business in a responsible and mindful way that creates long-term value for our various internal and external stakeholders. We aim to minimize our impact on the environment by setting ambitious climate commitments to reduce our carbon emissions, as well as by creating a more sustainable workplace and culture across our global firm. From routine but important acts — such as recycling paper and waste — to impactful legal work that empowers businesses and social enterprises alike, sustainability is integral to our operations.
“Our firm recognizes that the environmental challenges we face are complex and multifaceted. We believe that through innovation and continuous improvement, we can make a meaningful difference.”
— Sidley’s Management Committee
Our Climate Commitments
In alignment with science-based targets, our ambition is to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our operations and services by 2050, with a short-term goal to reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 55% or more by 2030. By the end of 2022, we were almost halfway to our 2030 goal, with a total reduction of 12,747 tCO2e compared to our 2019 baseline year. And, in 2022, we achieved carbon neutrality in our direct operations by using renewable energy sources to power our data centers and, increasingly, our offices; leveraging renewable energy credits for energy usage in our other leased spaces; and by purchasing high-quality, REDD+ carbon credits equivalent to our Scope 1 emissions.
Our Approach to Sustainability
Over the years, we have made meaningful strides to address our impact on the environment. We adopted a Sustainability Position Statement, which outlines our approach to this important cause and reinforces our commitment to being part of the transition to a net zero economy. In addition, the position statement defines the most salient environmental issues impacting our firm, organized under a three-pillar framework: Legal Services, Global Business Operations, and Stakeholder Engagement. This framework will allow us to focus on what matters most and to be able to communicate our progress in a structured way.
Sidley is regarded as a forerunner in a broad array of areas related to sustainability and environmental law. We regularly provide advocacy and thought leadership in matters pertaining to environmental, social, and governance (ESG), climate change, environmental justice, and renewable energy — with extensive experience spanning a number of industries, including aviation and airlines and transportation.
Our lawyers also understand the importance of using their skills and experience to assist underserved communities, individuals, and organizations who cannot afford legal representation. Through Sidley’s Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program, our lawyers support sustainable and economic growth across the developing world by offering high-quality international legal services to socially and environmentally focused businesses.
For more information on these services, click the links below:
- Aviation and Airlines
- Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration
- Climate Change
- Environmental Justice
- Renewable Energy
- Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program
GLOBAL BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Sidley seeks out leased spaces that prioritize lower natural resources consumption, energy and emission reductions, and sustainable waste management. Our firm has 21 offices across nine countries, 13 of which are located in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certified green buildings. At each location, office managers coordinate environmental efforts, including engagement with landlords and property managers, as well as communicating with our lawyers and staff about “green office” practices.
- Energy and Climate: A major focus of Sidley’s sustainability strategy is understanding our carbon footprint, and identifying ways to reduce energy and carbon emissions. Some of the energy-saving practices already underway include EnergyStar and EPEAT certified computers, IT peripherals, and kitchen appliances; upgraded LED lighting and occupancy sensors; and EV charging stations at select office locations.
- Paper Reduction: Much of the work that was paper-based in the business world has gone digital. For the work that still requires paper, Sidley has taken significant measures to recycle and reduce the volume of paper we consume, and to procure printing goods and services responsibly. In 2022, Sidley reduced emissions associated with paper usage by 48% compared to the 2019 baseline year. This is equivalent to carbon sequestered by 1,154 acres of U.S. forests or removing 215 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
- Business Travelers: To better understand the environmental impact of our travel choices, we maintain a close working relationship with American Express GBT Lawyers Travel (Lawyers Travel™). Our partnership involves exploring sustainability solutions, ensuring accurate data collection, and incorporating Lawyers Travel’s resources and eco initiatives. We also encourage our lawyers and professional staff to evaluate each travel opportunity, taking into account video and virtual alternatives before booking their flights or low-carbon transportation options.
To enhance the way we operate as a sustainable business, we frequently collaborate with key internal and external stakeholders worldwide. These collaborations allow us to share best practices and experiences, inspire participation, and work in tandem to solve complex environmental problems. Such collaborations help us with evaluating our policies and processes to operate more sustainably and better serve our clients and communities.
Sidley is a member of the Law Firm Sustainability Network, a nonprofit organization of law firms committed to promoting the benefits of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility throughout the legal profession.