CASE STUDY: Sharpe Pritchard LLP

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Net Zero Case Study

From people losing their homes in wildfires and floods, to the excess deaths which accompany every record-breaking drought: climate change is here and already threatening the rights and freedoms on which our society was built. Sharpe Pritchard recognises and understands this threat; however, we also believe in the ingenuity of our structures and institutions to deliver net zero before it is too late.

In recent years we have taken instructions from clients in central and local government on a multitude of projects which will be crucial for delivering a more sustainable future. From building the next generation’s stock of modern, green, social housing, to decarbonisation projects on existing buildings, our infrastructure and construction teams are regularly working on projects which will form the basis of a green industrial revolution in the next decade. Other teams across the firm have also been carrying out vital work, including advising a local authority on investments in offshore renewable energy projects. As the public sector realises the importance of taking net zero into account in all its functions, we have been on hand to provide expert advice.

In addition to collaborating with our clients to deliver the infrastructure and services which will be integral to net zero, we are also taking active steps to reduce our own environmental impact. In pursuit of our target of reaching net-zero carbon by 2025, we are currently completing a net-zero audit and action plan and have recently signed up to the Print Releaf Reforestation Scheme which monitors and offsets our paper consumption. In this new age of remote working, we are doing everything we can to mitigate our carbon footprint and we are encouraging our clients to do the same.

In a recent article following the IPCC report,  the government’s chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, wrote that “policymakers will need to work in new ways, sharing ideas across disciplines to plot a clear path from here to net-zero.” Sharpe Pritchard understands the important role that lawyers have to play in this process. For over a century we have worked on the frontiers of legislative development and parliamentary drafting to help facilitate change and innovation. For example, in the 1950s we helped numerous local authorities promote the private bills which led to the Clean Air Acts. Partly in response to this history, we have recently published articles – such as those by  Steve Gummer and Rob Hann – which we hope will inspire action among our clients and encourage local authorities to use the full range of statutory functions and duties at their disposal to deliver green investment.

As Vallance wrote in his article, ‘nothing short of a total transformation of society will avert climate catastrophe”. By delivering projects with our clients, limiting our footprint as a business, and sharing our expertise with policymakers, Sharpe Pritchard is ready to play a crucial role in facilitating a decade of seismic change.