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Nine law firms back call for UK government to put sustainability at heart of Covid-19 recovery

Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Freshfields and Slaughter and May among signatories of letter sent to Downing Street

Nine leading UK law firms have joined more than 150 companies, charities, universities and trade associations urging the UK government to put the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at the centre of its economic revival plans to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter calls on the government to prioritise the most vulnerable in society and level-up regional and societal inequalities, build coherent policies for a healthy planet and to aid the transition to net zero, uniting all sectors behind a plan to build a stronger and more resilient economy.

The initiative is co-ordinated by UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development and UN Global Compact Network UK.

The legal sector signatories are Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, DWF, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, Mishcon de Reya, Pinsent Masons and Slaughter and May.

Matt Sparkes, head of corporate responsibility at Linklaters, said: “We are all witnessing the inequality in our societies that Covid-19 is both highlighting and entrenching. Now is our opportunity to ensure that the UK’s recovery creates conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth.”

He added: “We are proud to pull together with leaders from public life, business and civil society organisations to ensure that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of UK Covid-19 recovery plans.”

Among those signatories is British screenwriter, producer and film director Richard Curtis, whose credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral and Yesterday.

He said: “The Covid crisis has shown more than ever that we must work together to secure a better future. The global goals are a powerful tool to help us do this; they provide a common vision and a practical blueprint for collaboration. The breadth of support for this letter demonstrates a commitment to working with the UK government to deliver healthy lives, healthy societies and a healthy planet for everyone.”

The Business and Sustainable Development Commission estimates the UN goals could create at least $12tn in opportunities in 60 market hotspots around the world and could be as much as three-times that amount when applied to the global economy as a whole.

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Author: Ben Edwards