ESG has become a priority for law firms across the globe. This, among other things, has been driven by clients’ which have placed ESG high on the corporate agenda and are now expecting their outside counsel to follow suit. When it comes to real estate, there is an expectation for firms to adhere to both their own and their clients’ ESG ambitions. A consequence of this is firms placing greater emphasis on prioritizing ESG ratings when searching for new office space. Across some markets, this will only be accelerated by regulatory pressures, with the UK government’s proposal for all commercial buildings needing an EPC rating of B or higher by 2030. With ESG now becoming ever more important for the corporate world, it’s equally important for firms to not only have an ESG programme in place but also achieve stated goals. Real estate has emerged as a vital mechanism to ensure these goals can be met.

The above is particularly true for those firms that are currently seeking new space. Being in a building with first-class ratings such as BREEAM outstanding, LEED platinum, WELL certification and in the UK, a building with an EPC rating of B or higher, is now being seen as a pre-requisite as part of any decision pertaining to office moves. As a result, firms which are planning to relocate or are in buildings approaching obsolescence will need to put environment and sustainability near the top of their needs. This has clearly been a priority for some firms, with the managing partners of Hogan Lovells and HFW  both emphasizing the role that sustainability played when selecting their respective new offices.

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