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Clifford Chance and Blackbridge launch Sustainable Recruitment Alliance to reduce the carbon footprint of the UK early talent industry

11 August 2020

Clifford Chance and Blackbridge launch Sustainable Recruitment Alliance to reduce the carbon footprint of the UK early talent industry

Leading international law firm Clifford Chance and communications agency Blackbridge have today launched the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance, which encourages the UK graduate recruitment industry to find more sustainable ways of attracting early talent and reducing their carbon footprint. 

Babcock International Group, Co-op, Enterprise, DAZN, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, myGwork, National Student Pride, Pinsent Masons, Police Now, RPC, TLT LLP, Unlocked Graduates and Weil Gotshal & Manges have signed up to the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance so far, with more organisations expected to follow. The steering committee for the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance is comprised of Clifford Chance who are chairing the initiative, Blackbridge, Sentry and Students Organising For Sustainability.

Global waste production globally currently stands at two billion tonnes a year and is expected to rise by 70% by 2050, according to the Global Waste Index 2019. Most organisations rely on merchandise, travel and event catering when attracting early talent and all of these play a part in the waste of resources, and the ultimate production of carbon dioxide.

The Sustainable Recruitment Alliance provides tips and resources to help participating organisations take the small steps necessary to change their habits and preserve the environment for the early talent that they recruit through:

  • Reviewing their own processes and thinking about ways of modifying their existing practices to become more sustainable and carbon-friendly.
  • Reducing their carbon footprint and the environmental impact of early talent recruitment activities, through the reduced use of physical branding materials and merchandise, as well as limiting travel to recruitment events. 
  • Reporting annually on their progress and publishing the environmental impact that the changes they are making are having.

Laura Yeates, Head of Graduate Talent at Clifford Chance and Chair of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance, said, "Nearly two decades in this industry has left me wondering why we, as recruiters, place such importance on disposable material objects when building relationships with candidates and promoting our brands. Our consumption in the name of attraction is inexcusable and it needs to change now. Our position as founding partners of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance cements Clifford Chance's commitment to finding a more sustainable way of recruiting, not just for us but for  the whole early talent industry."

Tony Andrews, Managing Director at Blackbridge, added "We help many clients with their graduate recruitment strategies and want to build awareness around the issue of sustainability and give recruiters other, better options."

The Sustainable Recruitment Alliance complements Clifford Chance's Graduate Recruitment team's ongoing efforts to improve the sustainability of its operations and reduce its environmental impact. Over the last seven years, Clifford Chance's campaign has developed significantly, with the firm no-longer printing recruitment brochures or leaflets (instead creating bookmarks printed on recycled paper) and making meaningful decisions regarding the manufacturing and supply chain of pens and notepads, student and firm representatives' travel choices, meat-free catering and virtual engagement platforms.

Clifford Chance commissioned a report by Greenstone, an award-winning sustainability reporting organisation, to measure the environmental impact of these changes and found that by taking the simple decision to scrap our brochures we saved a total of 5.7 tonnes of paper and avoided an additional 8.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions being emitted. This is the equivalent to planting 141 trees or charging 1,084,024 mobiles. Between 2017/18 and 2019/20 due to purchasing decisions there was a reduction of an additional 3.6 tonnes of CO2, which equates to flying from London to Madrid 33 times. Through additional changes, we achieved a further reduction in emissions of 9% from 2013/14 to 2019/20. This is a total of 6 tonnes of CO2, which equates to flying from London to New York 13 times. 

To become part of this positive movement, sign the pledge here