We believe that, as an industry leader, we have a duty to run our business responsibly. This is reflected in our approach to how we run our firm and manage risk, how we deliver value to our clients, the commitments we make to the principles espoused by the UN Global Compact and the firm's CR programme, which we seek to align with our overarching business strategy.
Our membership of the UN Global Compact provides us with a valuable framework for understanding our performance against independent benchmarks and encourages us to refine our understanding of what acting responsibly means at Clifford Chance. And we recently became one of the first major international law firms to adopt a human rights policy.
In these pages we show how we're achieving our Corporate Responsibility vision – alongside the stories of some of the people who inspire us.
Our CR strategy
Our vision is to implement an outstanding corporate responsibility programme that has a significant positive impact on our firm and the communities in which we operate, in support of our ambition to lead the elite group of international law firms. Our vision is underpinned by our Principles – the values that unite and differentiate us. We will achieve it by focusing on three priorities: our people, our community and our environment.
Our people. To build an inclusive and supportive culture that embraces our diversity and which provides opportunities for the best and brightest individuals from the widest range of backgrounds to develop their skills and broaden their experience.
Our community: To have an outstanding pro bono and community outreach programme that enables everyone in the firm to engage enthusiastically and which delivers effective assistance to our charitable and not-for-profit partners, enabling us to widen access to justice, to finance and to education.
The environment: To take a responsible and effective approach to measuring and managing our own environmental impact and to be a leading player in finding legal solutions for our clients to facilitate the implementation of sustainable energy technologies and projects.
We set ourselves ambitious and challenging targets in each area of our CR strategy, and we report our progress against these targets in our annual CR Report.
Our people are critical to the delivery of our CR strategy; our success is dependent on their expertise, creativity and dedication.
Diversity is essential for us to develop a thriving, globally integrated firm. We're committed to being an inclusive organisation where all employees, regardless of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age, gender or background, can develop to their full potential and contribute their best work to the benefit of the firm and its clients.
In our People pages, you can read more about initiatives like ARCUS, our global LGBT network; our activities to widen access to careers in the law and business to children from disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g. PRIME); and our work to retain female lawyers and bring them into the partnership.
We recognise individuals and teams for their inspiring CR work in our annual CR Awards. Now in its fifth year, the awards have seen some 650 nominations and over 40 winners so far. The awards celebrate people who have made a real impact and each winner receives £5,000 (or local equivalent) to donate to charity.
This year's winners included a secretary from New York who galvanised the office to donate 'waste' printer paper to a local school; a team that has worked with Human Rights Watch on an important research project; a lawyer from London who has set up and now runs a youth charity; and a London lawyer who was instrumental in helping charity Missing People to secure a change in the law.
Helping 100,000 people
Our annual target to help 100,000 people through our community outreach and pro bono work encourages and celebrates our collective contribution to CR initiatives – from the perspective of those our work impacts. Our original target, set in 2012 to help 100,000 people by 2015, was passed in just one year – and we now aim to match it annually.
We look for ways to strengthen our relationships with clients by collaborating around CR. By combining our efforts we are able to mobilise greater resource than we could individually, and our shared experiences deepen our relationship in a way that is personally and professionally rewarding.
As well as co-operating on specific initiatives we create opportunities for clients and community partners to meet. In London and Hong Kong, client pro bono lunches and workshops have generated valuable introductions.
We work with major international NGOs as well as small local charities to support our aims of increasing access to justice, finance and education.
Our charitable donation arm, the Clifford Chance Foundation, offers financial support to our community programme at a global and local level, while the annual Access to Justice Award epitomises our joined-up approach with a donation to the winner of £50,000 from the Foundation and 500 hours of pro bono and volunteering work from our people.
We recently started exploring how we could offer a similar level of internationally co-ordinated legal service to selected global NGOs on a pro bono basis as we do to our fee-paying clients. Read more about the 12 organisations we have identified as our global NGO relationships.