Our CSR motto 'Empowering the Next Generation' permeates everything we do as we strive to make a tangible and lasting positive impact through our work. Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guiding framework, we focus on the goals where we can make the greatest contribution. These are quality education (SDG 4), gender equality and reducing inequalities (SDGs 5 and 10), climate action (SDG 13), peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16) and finally partnerships for the goals (SDG 17) since we need to cooperate with other organisations to increase our impact. These goals have been integrated into the four pillars of our Sustainability & CSR policy: clients, people, operations and society.
Sustainability & CSR Report
Our annual Sustainability & CSR Report reflects our commitment to accountability and transparency. It outlines our policies, objectives, and progress in implementing sustainability and CSR initiatives throughout our organisation. By offering a comprehensive overview of our activities and key performance indicators we provide insight into how we address the issues that are material to our business.
Climate change and sustainability are high on the agenda for many of our clients, and it is through our client work that we can make the greatest impact.
Our Sustainable Business & Climate Change team advises financial institutions and corporations on areas including ESG risks and opportunities, climate change litigation, sustainable finance, and human rights law. In addition to assessing today's complex challenges, our multi-disciplinary team looks ahead and beyond to anticipate future trends and emerging issues. By engaging with stakeholders and applying cross-sector expertise, we identify and develop resilient and sustainable solutions.
Recent examples include:
- Assisting clients with their climate strategies and policies and advising on climate liability issues
- Providing comprehensive multidisciplinary advice to clients on the transition to a low-carbon economy
- Advising leading banks and insurance companies on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy
- Assisting the Dutch Banking Association in preparing their response to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) consultation
Cooperation and knowledge sharing are key to driving the transition to a sustainable future. We therefore regularly organise roundtables and events on a wide range of ESG-related topics. Our knowledge sharing includes panel positions at conferences, for instance for the International Bar Association, and conducting expert sessions with clients or partner organisations. Through our monthly ESG Matters update and bi-annual ESG webinars we help clients keep abreast of the latest developments and insights on ESG-related governance, disclosure and litigation.
We are committed to promoting inclusion and diversity, creating an environment where everyone can bring their whole selves to work and feel empowered to make a meaningful contribution.
We prioritise the wellbeing, growth and development of our people, fostering an environment where everyone can grow, participate, be heard, be fairly rewarded and excel. We set concrete objectives to measure our progress towards an inclusive, equitable and diverse firm. For instance, our aim is to have a balanced gender ratio at all senior levels and 20% cultural diversity firm-wide by 2025. The data in our CSR & Sustainability Report are an important indication of where we stand. Knowing that our contribution is valued and our work matters, we aim to raise the bar together.
Recent examples of initiatives include:
- We achieved a more equal male/female ratio at senior level, growing from 31% (2021) to 40% women in 2022
- In 2022, we appointed two inclusion partners and a dedicated I&D specialist
- Three of our offices – London, Luxembourg and New York – are led by female managing partners, and the male managing partner of our Brussels office is an outspoken I&D advocate
- A dedicated talent development programme for partners and seniors that focusses on entrepreneurial and leadership skills
We have set ambitious reduction targets on our carbon footprint emissions and on further integrating sustainability into our business operations.
We aim to reduce our carbon footprint with 55% by 2030 compared to 2019 and to become net-zero by 2050. To achieve this, we have developed a CO2 reduction roadmap. As of 2021, we offset our remaining emissions through certified projects.
We understand the value of partnerships in achieving such goals. We are member of the Large Companies Network of business network organisation MVO Nederland and of the Green Business Club Zuidas. These partnerships allow us to share knowledge and collaborate with other firms in promoting sustainable business practices and deliver innovative solutions.
Recent examples of making our operations more sustainable include:
- We achieved a 40% carbon reduction and offset our remaining emissions by investing in certified climate projects
- We implemented a new commuting policy in our Dutch offices to enable more sustainable mobility choices and our Brussels office uses financial incentives and pilot projects to encourage the use of public transport and bikes
- We implemented a sustainable international travel policy, in which we promote videoconferencing instead of physical meetings where possible and train travel is the norm for distances under 700 kilometres
- We implemented an Energy Saving Plan at our Luxembourg office which resulted in energy savings of 23%
- Our sustainability performance has been assessed by EcoVadis since 2022 and in the first year resulted in a bronze medal for top 50% sustainability performance
Together, we want to amplify our positive impact on society. Because each of us can make a difference, and together we can create meaningful change.
In 2022, we launched our firm-wide Impact Programme which serves as an umbrella for our pro bono, community engagement and CSR activities. The aim is to use our collective legal and wider expertise and skills for the benefit of society. The programme is directly linked to our CSR policy and focus SDGs - education, equality, climate action, access to justice and cooperation through partnerships.
Under this programme, everyone at our firm can spend four impact days a year on community engagement, volunteering, or pro bono work. This equates to 20,000 impact hours per year. These hours count towards billable targets or time worked for performance purposes. Participation is actively supported and encouraged, including through a firm-wide engagement campaign.
For example, we:
- Volunteer at IMC Weekendschool, an organisation that empowers children from underprivileged backgrounds in their school and career path
- Organise seminars on employment topics for Alter for Hum that assists young people who are looking for a first job and older people looking for a professional reorientation
- Support Lawyers for Lawyers, a non-profit organisation that defends lawyers whose right to practice is under threatParticipate in sponsor events, such as swimming for the ALS Foundation and running for KickCancer in Brussels
Every year, two of our employees can take part in our one-month paid sabbatical to contribute to a CSR project. Any NautaDutilh employee in any of the firm's offices can apply. As last years' candidates have shown, there are many ways to contribute to our focus UN Social Development Goals, either abroad or in the local community.
Recent examples of CSR sabbaticals:
- Working at a Kenyan coffee mill station that processes coffee beans grown by local women farmers
- Volunteering at the Stichting Vluchtelingenwerk (Dutch Council for Refugees) in the Netherlands
- Volunteering with the JEDI project in Ghana which helps educators empower children who are disadvantaged because of their ethnicity, gender, religion, special needs or economic circumstances
- Volunteering with Surfpop, an NGO that aims to give children from South African townships the best chance at living life to the fullest with access to sustainable employment after school
Pro bono activities
As a law firm, we can make a difference by using the law as an instrument for change. This means that our pro bono work is fundamental to who we are.
We provide free advice and representation to organisations and individuals who lack the opportunity or means to obtain our level of legal services. This involves giving legal advice to non-profit organisations on legal issues, collaborating with non-profit organisations to advance their work and assisting with strategic litigation - including representing clients before the Supreme Court.
Our pro bono work focuses on the protection of human rights, sustainability and support for the cultural sector. We amplify our impact by partnering with not-for-profit organisations such as the clearing house Pro Bono Connect, MVO Nederland (the largest business network for sustainable entrepreneurs), Siréas (a Belgian not-for-profit association that helps people in social difficulties) and the #ReAct project of the House of Entrepreneurship of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.
Recent examples of our pro bono work include:
- Helping bring marriage equality in Aruba and Curaçao
- Assisting in a Sri Lankan adoption case against the Dutch State and an adoption organisation
- Providing pro bono support to the Association of Accidental Americans in their effort to halt the transfers of personal data to the US tax authorities
- Arguing before the Dutch Supreme Court that protection against climate change is a fundamental human right, as part of the Urgenda legal team
Inclusion & Diversity
We champion inclusion and diversity to foster an adaptable, innovative and equitable workplace. In a healthy and safe organisation, where everyone is encouraged to bring their whole selves to work.
We have a longstanding commitment to advancing inclusion & diversity (I&D). Because an inclusive and diverse workplace is integral to attracting, developing, inspiring, and retaining talented people. But above all because we believe it's the right thing to do. Our I&D vision is to ensure that the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion are valued throughout the business and embedded in the framework of everything we do.
We have identified four pillars on which we will focus to contribute to a more inclusive and connected organisation, industry, and society. Our approach focuses on inspiring and educating, raising awareness, building community, and promoting (bi-)cultural diversity. Our three-year roadmap outlines our strategy to fulfil our I&D mission to educate, advocate, engage connect, and empower people.
In 2022, we appointed two inclusion partners as well as a dedicated I&D specialist. Together with our I&D Committee and I&D Taskforces they (co)develop policies, instigate new initiatives, and coordinate projects and activities that support our I&D aspirations. The Brussels office has a Think Inclusion & Diversity Committee and a Think Healthy Committee, which advise the managing partners in these offices. We are also proud to hold the Diversity Label of the Brussels Minister of Employment.