Our ESG Impact
At OC&C, we genuinely want to do the right thing and ensure we have a positive impact as a business. We have always taken pride in both delivering great outcomes for our clients and doing so in a way which contributes responsibly to the world around us. At the same time, we’re working hard to do even better – we know the challenges the world is facing and believe that business (and firms like us) can genuinely be a force for good.
Our 2022 ESG Impact Report highlights our progress and actions to date, from committing to set ambitious emission reduction targets across our 12 globally integrated offices, to helping our clients and pro-bono partners tackle complex problems with the very best strategic advice. We’re determined that our efforts have a tangible impact and are honest with ourselves about what we need to do to keep improving.
Environmental sustainability is a key part of our corporate strategy, and is deeply embedded in the way we try to work every day.
Historically, we have taken action because it was the right thing to do – without us necessarily having a centrally guided ESG strategy. In the last few years, we’ve put a more systematic approach in place so we can both set the most effective targets and measure and track our progress toward them. Whilst we measure our environmental impact quite broadly, our most important metric within this pillar is that of greenhouse gas emissions. In the last year, we’ve put together a detailed understanding of our footprint, working with carbon accountants Normative.
Going forward, we have pledged to set near term company-wide emission reduction targets in line with climate science with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We’re also committed to set long-term company-wide emission reductions in line with science-based net zero with the SBTi to reach net-zero value chain GHGs emissions by no later than 2050 (in line with the SBTi Net-Zero Standard), and to be part of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C and UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign.
We know that we will continue to be responsible for emissions in the near-term, both direct and indirect, and therefore have thought consciously about the world of offsetting. We know it’s one with lots of concern and many issues – but we also are aware that we need to take action on our journey to net zero. We have set a removal strategy for this year (and expect to continue it in the coming years) that focuses both on permanent removals and on offsets with co-benefits for communities. We believe it is critical to permanently and immediately remove as much of our direct carbon as possible, as well as to support nascent technologies to help them scale. Our partners, Klimate and Gold Standard, help us select our portfolio and ensure impact across a range of geographies.
To help us achieve our environmental goals, we’ve set a series of initiatives and processes in place, championed by our senior leadership. We also believe it’s important for each office to drive local projects led by individual ‘Green Teams’ with colleagues from all parts of the firm. It ensures not only are we taking local actions that relate to the interests and goals of our local colleagues but also that we are sharing education and excitement for our ESG mission throughout the firm.
As a service-led company, people are at the core of what we do. Our business is built upon the dedicated work of our employees, and ensuring their success is a fundamental part of our culture.
Flexible working schemes, voluntary unpaid leave and long-term international transfers are some of the opportunities available for staff, ensuring we offer maximum flexibility and a sustainable working culture.
We also have a strong focus on diversity and inclusivity. A people-oriented business like ours thrives on a diverse workforce, and this is only possible if inclusivity makes everyone feel welcome. We have programmes to embed this, such as inclusivity training and reverse mentoring, as well as initiatives within our recruitment processes so that we start with the fairest recruitment possible.
To ensure inclusivity is really brought to life on a daily basis, we have a Diversity & Inclusion Council that sets the agenda and oversees a series of employee-run networks focused on all elements of diversity within the firm. Recent highlights include the successful launch of the new social diversity team within our Ethnic, Cultural and Social Diversity (ECS) network, as well as gaining widespread recognition for the work done by our LBGTQ+ Network.
Our responsibility to have a positive effect extends to the wider communities in which we operate, and our pro-bono work helps to advance important causes and drive real impact outside of our commercial client work.
We’ve delivered numerous successful projects in our pro-bono work across many offices over time. We also partner to conduct fundraising or create volunteering opportunities with the various charities we support through our pro-bono work.
These partnerships have had tangible benefits for the likes of the NSPCC (Leading child protection charity in the UK) and the Robin Hood Foundation (New York’s largest poverty fighting organisation).
Many people associate “ESG” with environmental impact or social causes, but critical processes around governance structures, ethical practices, and protecting data and information security are important pillars too, especially for a business like ours.
We believe that ESG is so critical to our business and the way we work that we have embedded it within our governance and management structures, creating a Head of ESG role to be part of the firm’s Executive Committee. This brings ESG into the core of our decision-making. We have also built it into our legal founding documents, so that the need to care for all stakeholders (including the environment) is a principle upon which the firm is founded and governed. This commitment ensures ESG isn’t an afterthought but is at the heart of how we run our firm.
We are committed to ensuring our business practices are ethical and responsible and we’ve set in place policies and processes to achieve this, which are brought to life both by ongoing training and our everyday culture. This includes our Code of Conduct, which enshrines our values and expected behaviours that guide us in how we work with our clients, our broader stakeholders, and each other. We have detailed policies that guide our ways of working and on which all our staff receive training. These are supported by a clear whistleblowing policy.
As our business expands and develops, we will continue to update these policies to ensure they remain relevant guidelines for everything we do.
For our clients, ESG impact is part and parcel of their strategic questions, and an area where we as a strategic advisor can add great value.
We’re proud to help directly address their material concerns in this area, as well as advising ESG sector clients, such as recycling companies, environmental consulting services, plant-based food manufacturers and many others on their pressing strategic issues.
To see more of what we have done recently, please see specific examples of our relevant projects and IP in our ESG Impact Report and Insights page.