Global charitable initiatives

Since 2012, we have endeavored to bring our people together virtually (and when we can, physically) in support of our global charitable initiatives. These are in addition to the many local charitable activities that our 50+ offices around the world support. Our global charitable initiatives are proposed and sponsored by a different region each year. Each region is asked to choose an initiative that resonates with the worldwide staff, enjoys broad support among staff members globally and motivates many of them to participate and take action. 

Corporate responsibility videos

Global Charitable Initiatives: A decade of giving

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Protecting our planet's biodiversity

Protecting our planet's biodiversity was the theme of our 2023 Global Charitable Initiative, as selected by Scott Atkins, 2023 Global and Australia Chair. We partnered with Conservation International (CI), a nonprofit environmental organization whose goal is to improve the lives of people across the world by protecting the earth's forests, oceans and other living ecosystems. 

Our firm pledged to help protect and restore 10,000 acres of forest and 3,000 square kilometers of ocean. We look forward to continuing our work with CI beyond the formal course of this GCI as we focus on how we can mitigate the devastating effects of climate change as a private sector advocate for biodiversity protection and ecosystem conservation. 

Beneficiary: Conservation International
Sponsor region: Australia



Building sustainable communitiesFish icon

Led by our 2022 Global and EMEA Chair Farmida Bi CBE, the theme of our Global Charitable Initiative 2022 was Building Sustainable Communities, addressing some of the urgent challenges raised in the COP26 conference in 2021. COP26 brought together 120 world leaders and over 40,000 registered participants to discuss all aspects of climate change — the science, the solutions, the political will to act, and clear indications of action. The GCI 2022 was based around a number of these indications of action, notably accelerating action, including the need to support developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change and building resilience.

The GCI 2022 was based on three pillars:

Global Impact – The GREEN Project: We worked with Save the Children to improve living conditions and resilience to climate change for fishing communities on East Tonle Sap Lake, one of the most ecologically fragile areas of Cambodia. By supporting the GREEN Project, we worked to help over 40,000 adults and children and 8,000 fishing households, whose livelihoods and future have been hugely impacted by climate change.

Helping local communities: In addition to supporting the people of East Tonle Sap Lake, we acted directly to improve the environment in our local communities. Each office was asked to identify a sustainability project in its local community and to undertake volunteering activities in support of it during the year.

Focusing on internal sustainability: We continued the implementation of our sustainability agenda as a global firm, including changing our daily behaviors by sharing our best practices and ideas from across the global firm to improve our efficiency and sustainability as a business. We have been working on this for several years already and have sustainability teams in many regions, but continue to work globally to find further opportunities to improve.

Beneficiaries: Save the Children and other worldwide organizations focused on sustainability issues.
Sponsor region: EMEA



Fighting racism and championing social justice

Our 2021 Global Charitable Initiative focused on fighting systemic racism and championing social justice worldwide, a vitally important and timely cause selected by our 2021 Global and US Chair Shauna Clark, the first woman of color to be chair of an “Am Law 200” firm. The aim of the initiative was to raise awareness as to the importance of fighting racism and championing social justice in business, in local communities and as individuals through fundraising, pro bono and volunteering opportunities with charities focused on these causes; in the US, this included the Anti-Defamation League, the Tahirih Justice Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Where possible, we also joined with like-minded clients in these activities to expand our reach.

Each region or jurisdiction was encouraged to interpret the themes of fighting racism and championing social justice in a way that resonated with their local community and culture, identifying an organization active in this cause with which to partner in 2021. The highlight of the campaign was an in-person event, the Run Against Racism, held September 19, 2021 in Houston, featuring nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis as master of ceremonies. The event raised over US$260,000. 

Beneficiaries: The Anti-Defamation League, Tahirih Justice Center, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and other worldwide organizations dedicated to the cause of fighting racism and championing social justice.
Sponsor region: US



Building sustainable communitiesTree icon

This initiative was postponed to 2021/22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.




The Global Food Challenge

The aim of the Food Challenge was to fight hunger and reduce food waste in our local communities globally. We helped at foodbanks, organizing food drives, raising funds for homeless shelters and reducing food waste at home and at work. The Global Food Challenge resonated with many. Our offices have continued to work with the charities they championed throughout the year and globally, we have continued to explore how we can reduce our footprint. Learn more about the Global Food Challenge.

Beneficiaries: Food-related charities
Sponsor region: Australia



Challenge 67: Breaking ground in South Africa Challenge 67

A team of 167 volunteers from 24 of our offices spent the weekend of February 10-12, 2017 helping to build a facility for Menzi Children’s Home in the township of Tsakane. With the aid of Food and Trees for Africa, they also planted a sustainable food garden at Vuyani Primary School to help support the Home’s learner feeding program.

This build was part of the primary fundraising activity for our Challenge 67 initiative, which aimed to help change the lives of disadvantaged people in this community. The weekend’s events included digging foundations, making bricks and concrete furniture, painting doors and creating a mosaic statue of Nelson Mandela. Our volunteers paid their own way to Johannesburg or used donated air miles.

Beneficiary: Menzi Children’s Home
Sponsor region: South Africa

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Special Olympics: The Great Canadian Canoe Challenge Canadian Canoe Challenge

We championed Special Olympics as our global charitable initiative in 2015-2016, raising US$250,000 for this global social movement with one mission: people with intellectual disabilities can – and will – succeed when given the chance.

Our principal Special Olympics fundraiser was a sponsored paddling (canoeing) event – The Great Canadian Canoe Challenge. Paddlers each committed to raising a minimum of US$250 in sponsorship, and funded their own travel to Canada. We also hosted masterclasses in our offices, encouraging colleagues to share their skills with others – everything from cryptic crosswords to ceilidh dancing and a tour of Paris on a Vespa scooter – in return for donations.

We were delighted to have reached our fundraising target for this excellent charity, helping Special Olympics to continue its work in providing year round training and competitions to more than 4.4 million people in 170 countries.

Beneficiary: Special Olympics
Sponsor region: Canada


BP MS 150: Fighting multiple sclerosis BP MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurological disease which affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide, mostly between the ages of 20 and 50. There is no known cure and the cause is still unknown. Vital work is being carried out to help people who live with the challenges of MS, and we are proud to make a small contribution to this effort.

The BP MS 150 is a grueling 180-mile (290 km), two-day bicycle ride from Houston to Austin, Texas, which is organized each year by the US National MS Society to raise money to help people with MS. The ride is a permanent fixture in our global calendar and, to date, our riders have raised close to US$1.1 million for MS charities.

Beneficiaries: Various MS Charities
Sponsor region: US


Jubilee Sailing Trust: Sail the World Challenge Sail the World Challenge

We supported the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a UK charity which promotes the integration of people of all physical abilities through the challenge and adventure of tall ship sailing, on a two-year voyage around the world.

We joined a professional crew of eight as volunteers on board a square-rigged barque, the Lord Nelson, for an epic voyage as the first disabled-accessible tall ship to sail around Cape Horn and make landfall in the southern hemisphere.

The Lord Nelson has taken more than 24,000 people to sea, 10,000 of them physically disabled, among them 5,000 wheelchair users. The voyage won us Global CSR Initiative of the Year at the American Lawyer Global Legal Awards in 2013.

Beneficiary: Jubilee Sailing Trust
Sponsor region: Europe, Middle East and Asia

For more information about our global charitable initiatives, please read our Corporate Responsibility brochure.

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