21 Jun 2022

Squire Patton Boggs launches UK ESG strategy, commits to net-zero carbon emissions by 2035

US firm also pledges to introduce full supplier audit and achieve 25% women partners by 2026

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Squire Patton Boggs has today announced its environment, social and governance strategy (ESG) for the UK, which includes a commitment to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2035. 

Among the strategy’s other measures is a 50% incremental increase of pro bono work each year and the introduction of a full supplier audit, as well as to provide ESG training across the firm. 

European managing partner Jonathan Jones commented: “ESG is a priority for clients and for us. Our strategy, grounded in the UN sustainable development goals, seeks to build ESG into the culture of our firm, holding us accountable and ensuring we play our part in delivering a sustainable future.”

The strategy will see disadvantaged students receive 75% of internship and work experience opportunities at Squire, which has also committed to achieving the diversity targets it announced in April last year. Among them was to have 25% of UK partners be women and 16% ethnic minority representation across the firm by 2026. 

The firm said in May it was on course to achieve those targets, having upped the figure for female partners from 17% to 21% and ethnic minority representation from 13% to 14%. 

Squire’s ESG manager, Dr Thomas Hancocks, said: “This strategy represents our commitment to embed ESG by driving measurable change within our firm, and also to benefit the communities and clients we serve. 

“The strategy aligns with our DEI, charitable and social mobility initiatives. It also builds upon our work with organisations such as the Legal Sustainability Alliance, Science-Based Targets initiative and Social Mobility Foundation amongst others, helping us set priorities, develop our goals and, importantly, to record and report our progress,” he added. 

Squire’s commitment to DEI was underscored in the firm’s 26-strong partner promotions round in February, 17 of whom (65%) were diverse according to gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Fifteen (57%) of the new partners were women, marking a significant step up from the round in February 2021 when only eight (36%) of the 23 new partners were women.

The firm also named a woman, Michele Connell, as global managing partner of its US LLP last September, succeeding Frederick Nance. Nance remained part of the firm’s executive leadership group while heading up Squire’s newly-created office of DEI, intended to help the firm incorporate DEI principles into its strategy and management decisions. 

And it kicked off last year by naming Washington DC-based partner Alethia Nancoo as the first African-American woman to join its global board. The appointment of Nancoo – who is also co-chair of the firm’s global inclusion and diversity committee – meant that seven of the 12 board members were considered diverse by the firm.

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