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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Responsible Business Insights

Acting responsibly

Acting responsibly

Our annual report - this year with the theme 'Acting Responsibly' - highlights the progress of Clifford Chance's Responsible Business strategy. It concentrates on the issues that are important to our stakeholders and that have the greatest potential to affect the sustainability and success of the firm. 

Our long-standing commitment to being a Responsible Business extends from strong governance, effective policies, and professional standards through to the inclusion and wellbeing of our people, a technology infrastructure that serves to protect our clients and our business from risk, our supply chain management, our efforts to minimise the negative impact we have on the environment and the important work we do in the community, including our pro bono work.

Our reporting for the year 2021/2022 showcases how our Responsible Business strategy is deeply embedded in our daily work. We take this opportunity to thank our clients (paying and pro bono) and recognise our people, whose efforts make Clifford Chance a leading international law firm known for the quality of the advice that we deliver and the responsible way that we deliver it.

Highlights from this year's Report includes:

  • 2,000+ people attended one of the 100+ global Code of Conduct workshops ('act responsibly' is one of the five principles of the Code)
  • 41% (15) women partners promoted to partnership in 2022, more than any previous round
  • Receiving the Best International Pro Bono Award 2021 for our Cornerstone Initiative in Kigali from LawWorks
  • Becoming a founding member of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance committed to accelerating the transition to Net Zero by 2050

The firm achieved good progress against its Responsible Business strategy in FY22. Alongside supporting data, articles and features showcase the strategy in action. They include the firm's response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine; delivering a human rights perspective of the host city bidding process for the FIFA 2026 Football World Cup; advancing the discussion on climate change at COP26, embedding inclusion values in hiring processes through new global recruitment guidelines and expanding the Mansfield Rule.

Our global Code of Conduct

In 2021/22 our firm advised financial investors, corporate enterprises, banks, states, entrepreneurs, governing bodies, regulators and NGOs, increasingly guided by our values-based global Code of Conduct. ‘Act responsibly’ is one of the five principles of our Code of Conduct, which since its launch in May 2021 has become a true fabric of our firm – and in 2021/22 we continued its interactive firm-wide roll-out. 

Acting responsibly came to the fore when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. We took action to support the people of Ukraine. Colleagues in our Warsaw office, working with our clients and NGOs, helped co-ordinate our international efforts to channel resources where they were most needed. Our leadership team’s decisions included a winding down of our operations in Russia, while supporting our colleagues in the Moscow office in that difficult time.

Solutions to climate change

Climate change is the most pressing concern facing the planet. This report highlights the steps we are taking to help our stakeholders find solutions to climate change. Working alongside the World Economic Forum on climate issues and a substantive role at COP26 are examples of our actions, which, in turn, help us stay ahead of developments in this area. We translate this vantage point into a competitive advantage for the clients we advise on climate change issues. As we double down on efforts to manage the footprint of our own operations, we are moving closer to our longer-term aim of being net zero and playing our role in helping our clients to achieve their net zero goals.

At the same time, following a series of COVID-19 lockdowns in many of our markets, we welcomed the opportunity once again to meet and collaborate with colleagues and clients in person. The hybrid world of work we have returned to is requiring adjustments to how we work, as we continue to accelerate the technological transformation of our business. In embracing this new reality we are guided by our commitment to deliver outstanding client work, trust in our people, and by the principles of inclusion.

Progress on inclusion

We and our clients require that our profession and our firm become more representative of the communities in which we live and work. This report, which goes alongside our Inclusion report 2022 to be published later this year, tracks our progress on inclusion. We are seeing the benefits of our strategies to improve inclusion and taking opportunities to collaborate with our clients and other law firms through initiatives that include reverse mentoring and through our participation in the Mansfield Rule. While our annual round of partner promotions featured a record proportion of women (41%) in 2021/22, we acknowledge the need to do more to improve female representation in our lateral hiring at senior partner levels.

Finally, as we seek to progress our Responsible Business strategy, we look forward to working together on this with our stakeholders. If you would like more information about any of the topics covered in the report, we would be very happy to hear from you, as would our colleagues on our Responsible Business Board. Read the 2022 Responsible Business Report.