Kennedys appoints its first head of responsible business

We have appointed our first head of responsible business to help the firm achieve its ambitious sustainability goals.

Kate Hursthouse is former senior manager for responsible business at Slaughter and May, where she spent the past 11 years developing and overseeing the firm’s work to integrate responsible business into the firm’s operations, as well as building its community, diversity and inclusion, and pro bono programmes.

Kate will lead a multi-disciplinary team at Kennedys, working with colleagues across the firm to improve its social and environmental performance in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The set of 17 Global Goals is described as a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”

We are delighted to welcome Kate, whose expertise I know will be hugely beneficial as we continue to deliver on our ambitious plans.

We have already pledged to reduce our carbon emissions, winning validation from leading climate and science experts at the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

We also achieved ‘Mansfield Rule’ accreditation – a 12-month certification process, which aims to boost diversity in law firm leadership – in the UK and US in its first submission year.  

Kate says: “Achieving SBTi validation and Mansfield Rule certification are both significant achievements that demonstrate Kennedys’ commitment to making a real, tangible difference. I want to ensure we proactively take responsibility for our impact on people and the planet.

“My background spans all areas of responsible business, including partnerships with clients and suppliers to make a positive impact, and I look forward to using that experience to build on the already excellent work being done by Kennedys so far.”

Alan Demirkaya, chief people officer, adds: “We are delighted to welcome Kate, whose expertise I know will be hugely beneficial as we continue to deliver on our ambitious plans.”

“This is a new role, but not new territory for Kennedys. We are improving our responsible business approach, and making great strides in our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Of our 316 partners worldwide, 34% are women. While we are pleased with our achievements, we are committed to do more to improve the diversity of the firm.”

Kate worked with clients at Slaughter and May to deliver community and pro bono initiatives, including the Social Mobility Business Partnership, which is now a national charity in its own right. She also led the firm’s responsible business communications and reporting, developed several award-winning social impact programmes, and set up the firm’s SDG integration programme.