Irwin Mitchell surfs to silver in BITC social responsibility rankings

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18 June 2011


Senior partners at Legal Futures Associate Irwin Mitchell have hailed the national law firm’s achievement in being named alongside some of the biggest businesses in the country for its commitment to social responsibility in a prestigious league table.

In just its third year of involvement with the high-profile benchmarking initiative run by Business in the Community (BITC), Irwin Mitchell saw its ranking rise for the third consecutive year, placing it among some of the UK’s leading companies for its commitment to diversity, community, the environment and pro bono legal work.

Assessors for the BITC’s Top 100 Corporate Responsibility Index raised the leading national law firm’s rating from bronze to silver – placing it alongside major brands such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Barclays and Centrica in the standings and making it one of only a handful of UK law firms to appear on the list at all.

The index is used to manage and measure the effectiveness of the social responsibility activities that businesses are carrying out in relation to issues such as their environmental impact, community and diversity.

The aim is not only for organisations to demonstrate the impact of their efforts, but also to give businesses the chance to compare their work with other firms and see how they can improve. 

Commenting on Irwin Mitchell’s strong performance, group chief executive John Pickering praised all of the staff involved in the law firm’s various efforts for their numerous social responsibility successes in the past 12 months.

He said: “Whether it is volunteering in the community, encouraging and communicating green ideas within the firm or offering pro bono advice, everyone at Irwin Mitchell has worked hard to both improve and increase the firm’s social responsibility efforts.

“It is an outstanding achievement to make a leap into the silver performance band within three years of getting involved in the BITC Corporate Responsibility Index and particular praise needs to be given to our social responsibility committee, which developed the strategy that has played a key role in taking the organisation to such new heights.

“As a firm we have always recognised the importance of embracing and making a positive impact on all of the communities we serve across the UK.

“However, the hard work is unlikely to stop here, as we are of course keen to make even further leaps forward over the coming year in order to demonstrate our long-standing and continued focus on these important issues.”

Irwin Mitchell is involved in a range of successful initiatives across the varying elements of social responsibility, including:

Community

  • Volunteers in Sheffield and Manchester help primary school children below the average standard of reading ability to enjoy books, while a similar scheme sees youngsters helped with maths.
  • The Glasgow office produced a CD to raise funds for the pupils of St Joan of Arc School, who have a range of learning difficulties.

Diversity

  • An internal listening group was created for minorities working in the firm in order to foster an inclusive environment.
  • Irwin Mitchell supports Pride events in Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds annually.
  • The firm also participates in schemes including BITC’s Culture Kids programme, which educates school pupils on cultural diversity.

Environment

  • The firm has achieved the ISO14001 environmental standard through cutting its waste, improving recycling and introducing a number of energy-saving initiatives.
  • Irwin Mitchell also reports its carbon footprint annually.
  • Founder of the Legal Sector Alliance, a collaborative movement of law firms who are aiming to reduce their impact on the environment.

Pro bono

  • Irwin Mitchell is a sponsor of the National Pro Bono Centre, which opened in November 2010 and acts as a hub for pro bono charities and community groups across England and Wales.
  • Volunteers from the firm provide advice at university law clinics at De Montfort University, University of Sheffield, Manchester University and Northumbria Law School.

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