Climate change is a pressing global issue; we’ve seen first-hand this summer the impact of rising temperatures, droughts and wildfires.

All businesses have a corporate responsibility to look at their carbon footprint and how they can make a change. We can all do more to minimise our environmental impact and nurture a greener work culture.

At Medical Solicitors, we’re a legal practice that is committed to change. That’s why, in recent years, we have adopted a climate conscious approach with practical and meaningful steps towards reducing our carbon footprint.

This isn’t just a case of working for the present; we’re investing in innovative solutions to evolve the legal framework and protect the future of Medical Solicitors. We wanted to set an example in the legal industry, but it also gives us a competitive edge. Clients can see that, through us, they too can do their bit to tackle the climate crisis.

The climate problem is not going to go away and we must do our utmost best to limit the warming. If the earth’s temperature rises by more than 1.5 degrees, we’ll continue to see increasing extreme weather events, a loss of species and biodiversity, and a threat to food crops.

So, what are we doing?

Donating to global off-setting charity, Cool Earth

Last year, we decided to move away from affiliating with a local charity, hospice or medical research centre and instead made a pledge to support a climate change charity with a percentage of business profits. After all, there will be no hospitals, hospices or medical research facilities if humanity can no longer live on earth.

After researching where would have the most effect, we settled on Cool Earth as we felt the charity really aligned with our own ethos. Their work starts with people and communities, we focus on the people behind the case file numbers. They fight for climate justice, we fight for patient justice.

We were impressed with how Cool Earth operates and their overriding focus on the importance of rainforests. The transparency appealed to us, knowing that our donations would be given directly to rainforest communities – no strings attached – to tackle the root cause of deforestation through radical projects.

While global responses and government promises to halt deforestation have been so far inadequate, it is encouraging to see that communities around the world are taking action into their own hands to come up with innovate solutions. We want to play an active part in changing the narrative by highlighting the incredible efforts and ingenuity of rainforest communities.

Many businesses are actively looking at reducing their carbon emissions, but we also need to be able to remove emissions from the atmosphere to reach net zero. It is estimated that, on average, 50 trees are needed to grow for a year to capture one tonne of carbon. Cool Earth support indigenous communities who live in and protect carbon sink environments.

Our donations help them fund projects that restore the carbon balance.

Making the Sheffield head office more energy efficient

It’s a sad fact that rising energy costs will cripple many businesses as they try to keep their premises open. To mitigate against this, operations manager, Jo, has been avidly assessing the efficiency of our head office in Sheffield and looking at ways we can improve it.

Earlier this year, we had a new, more economical boiler installed. The radiators have also been serviced to ensure the office heating is working at optimum efficiency, saving us money on our heating bills.

In August, we were pleased to be awarded a grant from Sheffield City Council’s Low Carbon Business Support scheme which will fund 50 percent of the cost of installing solar panels to the office roof. It is estimated this will reduce our CO2 output by 6.9 tonne a year. Having a renewable energy source means we also don’t have to worry as much about the rising electricity bills. Work is set to begin at the end of October.

Around the same time, we are also replacing the office windows and installing loft insulation to reduce heat loss. We were greatly surprised to find out that the Sheffield office has no roof insulation at all, so this should make a vast improvement to the building’s efficiency and running costs.

As with most office premises, we use LED lighting and high energy rated appliances, ensure PCs and laptops are on energy saving modes, and reduce the thermostat where possible.

Improving office systems to become paper-free

It would be fair to say that, despite its time-driven mindset, the legal industry has historically struggled to keep up with ever-changing technology, characterised by concerns with data security, limited budget and resources.

However, resisting digital transformation will only increase costs in the long run. Investing in modern software can improve efficiency, transform a firm’s value with clients, and create a seamless cross-team collaboration culture.

Fuelled by the Covid pandemic and the need for remote working, we changed various of our working systems to cloud-based in 2020. We also improved security of remote desktop systems. Not only does this give our fee earners more secure access to documents when working from home, but it also reduces our impact on the environment by working towards becoming paper-free.

We have also upgraded our telephone systems to a VOIP system, meaning it is now hosted on the cloud and allowing us to make calls over the internet from wherever we are – whether that’s in the office or when working from home.

Enabling staff to work remotely and promoting the use of online meetings means we’re helping reduce emissions produced on the commute to and from the office.

Sourcing more sustainable suppliers

We’re aiming to become paper-free, but of course the office will still produce some waste. We have a shred-everything policy for any confidential paperwork which also minimises the risk of a data breach.

Jo has also recently changed waste supplier to one which promises the maximum recycling possible. Recycling is one of the easiest ways a company can reduce their emissions. By reducing the amount of raw materials needed to produce an item, it helps save on energy, water, oil and landfill needed in production, as well as saving trees from deforestation.

Switching to electric company vehicles

Ahead of the 2030 ban on all new petrol and diesel cars, the race is on for companies to transition to electric or hybrid fleets. But it isn’t always as simple as just buying or leasing an electric car – there are logistics to think about.

At Medical Solicitors, we are investing in an electric charging point at our Sheffield head office to enable staff or visitors to charge their own vehicles at work. Our director, Caroline, has also recently switched her company car to an all-electric model which has a high-power charging capability for fast charging. With zero driving emissions, it means she doesn’t have to worry about avoiding low emission zones when out visiting clients around the country.

Why Choose Us?

We’ve handled many different types of medical negligence cases and provided expert advice for over 20 years.

  • We offer FREE, no obligation legal advice all throughout
  • Our processes are hassle free & we handle all the paperwork
  • We won't charge you a penny until your case has been settled

Our surgery claims expert:

Caroline Moore

Managing Director/Head of Sheffield Office