How We’re Helping Staff at a Major Law Firm Get to Grips with Carbon

Image credit Sora Shimazaki

With staff in more than 30 countries, law firm DLA Piper takes its impact on the planet seriously. In 2022, with the support of Speak Carbon, the firm rolled out its first Carbon Literacy training programme. The training was designed to ensure that staff understood the basics of climate science, the firm’s carbon impacts, reduction opportunities and potential solutions.


Global law firm DLA Piper is committed to becoming a more sustainable business. To achieve this, it is important that staff from across the firm have a good awareness of climate change and how day-to-day business activities can influence carbon emissions. With that in mind, they partnered with us to develop and deliver a bespoke training programme that over time, their own staff could progress and deliver at scale.    

DLA Piper’s Sustainability Journey 

DLA Piper was one of the first law firms to receive ISO 14001 certification for environmental management and their ongoing progress can be accessed in their annual Sustainability Report here. They are committed to the United Nation’s Race to Zero Campaign, having their own Science-based target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative in 2021 and were appointed as provider of legal services for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. They are a founding member of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, which encourages a commitment to climate action and sharing best practice in the legal sector. Additionally, they have signed up to the Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees.

At DLA Piper they believe that managing climate impacts isn’t the role of one department – it is the responsibility of everyone. It’s therefore vital that all those working for the firm understand the climate emergency, the impacts of the business, and how this is relevant to individuals in performing their roles.

How Speak Carbon Collaborated with DLA Piper

Following an initial discovery process we worked closely with DLA Piper to devise a bespoke Carbon Literacy training course. The course was designed to drive awareness and knowledge of the climate crisis and how to address it within the context of the firm. 

It encompassed:

  • understanding climate change
  • the potential carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities
  • DLA Piper’s approach to sustainability detailing the firm’s carbon reduction ambitions
  • how  the legal sector in general is beginning to address the climate crisis by introducing industry led sustainability initiatives.

“Carbon Literacy courses always cover the science, policy and impacts of climate change, and the actions that can be taken to reduce emissions and address the climate crisis,” explained our Carbon Literacy Trainer Alison Tomlin. “This course also looks at what the firm is already doing and plans to do to decarbonise, their carbon footprint, reporting mechanisms and peer progress. The practical elements of the course involve discussions and activities around the co-benefits for the firm of taking action, how to influence stakeholders to take action and how to talk to people about climate change.”

DLAP’s Senior Sustainability & ESG Analyst at DLA Piper added, “Being able to leverage the learning and subject expertise of the Speak Carbon team has been invaluable in developing the course content and has helped us create an informative and engaging programme for our people at DLA.

“The team’s thoroughness and attention to detail has been fantastic and I have enjoyed working closely with Pete and Alison to shape the content so that it captures the nuances of broader ESG issues within the legal sector  and beyond.”

The Project

Speak Carbon trainers Alison Tomlin and Pete Watkins initially delivered the Carbon Literacy course to a cohort of 20 people at DLA Piper, in two half-day online sessions. They went on to train several more groups across the UK, through a combination of e-learning and facilitated virtual training.

They then equipped four DLA Piper staff with the knowledge and skills to deliver the training themselves, through a tailored version of our Train the Trainer programme, called Training Professionals.

Project lead Alison said, “Working with the team at DLA Piper to embed Carbon Literacy within the firm has been an absolute pleasure. There is huge potential for positive influence on climate action in the legal sector, and being part of this ground-breaking project has been really exciting.”

The Results

Training DLA Piper staff to deliver the bespoke Carbon Literacy course themselves will expedite the rollout of the training.

Learners are using e-learning modules which we designed in partnership with our e-learning developer, to deliver the science, impacts and policy part of the training. The activity-based section, focusing on the firm’s own approach and the difference individuals can make, is then delivered face to face.

At the time of writing, 50 staff have now benefitted from the internal training. In the meantime, UK staff have already begun delivering the training online to colleagues elsewhere in the world.

A Senior Sustainability & ESG Analyst based in the Responsible Business team at DLA Piper values their collaboration with Speak Carbon, saying: “I have really appreciated the team’s transparency and their willingness to challenge us to go further with our content. I’m confident that the training offering will continue to get better over time and will mature into a rigorous, impactful programme that will contribute to the development of a sustainable, low-carbon culture at the firm.”

Carbon Literacy for Your Business

Speak Carbon provides Carbon Literacy and other climate awareness workshops for the legal sector and many other industries. If you think your business could benefit from Carbon Literacy training, please get in touch to find out more or discuss your needs.