The 2015 Paris Agreement saw international governments agreeing to keep global warming well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to keep it below 1.5°C.

Following this agreement, in 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a warning that global warming must stay below 1.5°C to prevent the worst effects of climate change. To achieve this, greenhouse gas emissions must halve by 2030 and drop to net zero by 2050. We have limited time for action, and the private sector has a crucial role to play.

How are we taking action?

We are helping to pave the way to a zero-carbon economy, boost innovation, and drive sustainable growth by setting ambitious, science-based emissions reduction targets.

In 2023, the Science Based Targets initiative approved our greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. We have committed and are on track to reduce our Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030.  We have also dedicated ourselves to measuring and reducing our Scope 3 emissions.

Scope 1 & 2 Reductions

Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy.

Our UK Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions from 2023 emissions are 40% lower than our 2019 baseline.

  • Our transition to hybrid working, which has enabled us to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Actively engaging with our landlords to agree upon green memoranda that, alongside procuring low-carbon energy, cover zero waste to landfill, low water fixtures, and reporting our performance.
  • Phasing out single-use plastics.

Our goal is to report and achieve similar reductions in our overseas offices and to maintain our net-zero trajectory while growing our business.

Scope 3 Reductions

Scope 3 emissions, also referred to as value chain emissions, often represent the majority of an organisation’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This includes emissions caused by business travel, employee commuting, and waste disposal.

We have a target of making a meaningful reduction in Scope 3 emissions associated with business travel.

We are committed to making more informed decisions about the way we travel by raising awareness of the environmental impact of our choices. Post-pandemic, we have seen how simple changes in long-established practices can have a positive impact on emissions.

For example, in December 2022, the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) decided that all opposition oral proceedings will be held via videoconference by default, citing environmental benefits as one of the reasons for the change.  Their decision has undoubtedly had a far-reaching impact on the carbon footprints of many IP firms, including ours.

Next Steps

At HGF we seek to invest our expertise in working closely with clients that have strong sustainability ambitions. We are committed to growing and updating our technical skills in areas of technology that are likely to become enablers of sustainable development.

As an IP firm, we help to provide our clients with the means to bring their ideas from bench to market.  We are well-placed to facilitate and advocate for better dialogue between stakeholders as we move towards more sustainable technologies. We will establish regular multi-channel communications around sustainability, which are aligned with a number of targeted campaigns around key events and dates throughout each year. We shall champion the important role that IP can play in the ambitious delivery of the SDGs.