DWF is uniquely positioned as the only main market listed legal business. This means we share and understand what our clients and other stakeholders are facing when it comes to ESG.
As a business that recruits for ten different offices across the UK and ROI, our autumn season used to consist of travelling to circa 45 events, which would vary from law fairs to tailored student events. We would print brochures and flyers, accompanied by branded goods. While we opted for reusable items, it was undoubtedly adding to the countless items that students already owned. We knew that positive change was needed.
Our first step was to introduce a virtual brochure. Once this was produced, we opted not to print any brochures as the interactive elements added much more value (with videos and effective guides), was more cost-effective and reduced waste.
We also decided to reinvest some of the time that we had saved from travelling and joined BPP’s Reverse Mentoring Scheme. As part of this, it reaffirmed how important it is for applicants that they are joining a business that is serious about sustainability. We were able to feed ideas back within DWF who sourced a new supplier who provides green branded goods. We had already made the decision not to use branded goods but it’s useful to know that we have sustainable options if needed.
Results and Reporting
Since changing our recruitment habits, we have (based off our 2019 campus season):
- Reduced our face-to-face activity by around 78%.
- Committed to running our 2022/23 campus season with no freebies or marketing materials which has saved us an approximate* combined total of:
- 6,000 brochures
- 6,495 water bottles
- 6,000 canvas bags
- 5,910 notebooks
- 12,000 leaflets
- 6,000 pens per year
- Saved around 7,500 sheets of paper for each year since 2019 by running paperless open days and assessment centres.
*This is based off ordering the same stock levels from our 2019/20 cycle in 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 cycles.
This doesn’t take into account the impact these changes have had on travel. A post taken from our @dwf_earlycareers Instagram page from December 2019 summarised our law fair season as having attended 44 events, taken 65 train journeys, 2 flights and had met 144 candidates at DWF hosted events. What was then considered a huge achievement to have covered so much ground between our small team, is now unimaginable and out of touch.
We are redesigning our website so that the content available is reusable and digestible whether you apply for a training contract, apprenticeship or graduate scheme.
We will run both face-to-face and virtual events but all events will continue to be completely paperless, with key information being shared in advance. We support with travel costs for all in-office events, but promote responsible travel by asking students in advance to plan their travel and use public transport where possible.
We are also considering where we can add value for students without attending events on campus or sponsoring society social events. This includes creating mentoring opportunities where we can reach candidates from diverse backgrounds and develop meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
The Early Careers team will be attending Carbon Literacy training to become Carbon Literate in FY 2022/23 (DWF are only one of two law firms that have been accredited as a Carbon Literate Organisation “CLO”) which, along with our work with the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance and DWF’s own ESG policy, should help to shape our future.