Reclaimed pallet-clad walls and ceiling features, sustainably sourced fabric seats, and tables made from recycled yoghurt pots are some of the eco-friendly features at Shakespeare Martineau’s first revamped office hub in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.
The law firm, which employs more than 910 people nationally, has been operating from the historic medieval town since 2013. The space – located in Bridgeway House, just off the A3400 and near the River Avon – is the first in Shakespeare Martineau’s property portfolio to undergo a major makeover to reflect modern, new ways of working.
Earlier this month, Shakespeare Martineau announced its pending B Corporation status and 30 ambitious responsible business pledges, including achieving net zero by 2025 and becoming carbon negative by 2030.
To support this, more than 80 per cent of the materials used as part of the refurbishment were sustainably sourced, recycled or reused – including wall cladding made from reclaimed pallets; tables created using Forest Stewardship Council wood; stools made from recycled cosmetic bottles; upcycled chairs, which have been sprayed and re-covered in sustainably sourced fabric; carbon neutral flooring solutions; neon lights made from recycled acrylic; energy efficient LED lightbulbs; and finishing touches, such as Beach Clean coasters created using EVA plastic saved from our oceans.
The firm also donates all old furniture it couldn’t use to local charities, religious groups, schools and community groups.
Karen Walker, chief transformation officer at Shakespeare Martineau, which has 10 locations across the Midlands and London, said: “The office was designed as a collaboration hub, creating a place where our people can come together to undertake tasks and activities better carried out in a face-to-face environment, while also supporting agile working with facilities such as a dedicated Zoom room, large planning surfaces, height-adjustable desks, spaces for confidential conversations, and areas to work away from the desk or hold informal conversations, team meetings or to socialise.
“Our aim is to have a positive impact in all that we do. Our commitment to achieving our responsible business pledges is part of that target, starting with the Stratford hub.
“Over the coming 24 months, our wider portfolio of hubs will undergo refurbishments to become modern, eco-friendly spaces that promote collaboration between teams.”
The transformation also supports Shakespeare Martineau’s pending B Corporation status. B Corporation organisations are legally required to consider the impact of business decisions on their people, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment; ensuring a balance between purpose, people and profit. Shakespeare Martineau will be the first law firm in Warwickshire, and one of the first in the UK, to be accredited.
Ben Buckton, chief marketing and people officer at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “For us, achieving B Corporation status will simply be a by-product of the work we’ve already been doing to become a better and more responsible business for our people, clients and the planet.
“We want all our people to work where, how and when they need to, to use their time and balance their life effectively.
“In our latest firm-wide survey, 88 per cent of our people want to continue with flexible working post-pandemic, so we have taken this as an opportunity to redesign the purpose of our hubs to better support networking, training, client meetings and other activities better done face-to-face.
“We see lots of firms offering flexible working arrangements, yet they still bind their people to fixed rules and commitments. This doesn’t go far enough for us as it doesn’t match the reality of life or the new business world; we want our people to have a true work-life balance.
“We also know that empowering people is the best motivation, and our positive, high-performance work culture is already attracting top talent and expertise from across the UK, which, in turn, delivers the best quality service for our clients.”
Other responsible business pledges made by Shakespeare Martineau include increasing female representation within the membership by five per cent (currently 33%) and racial diversity by two per cent (currently 8%), as well as supporting teams by training 100% of managers in wellbeing.