The Movement Toward Socially Responsible Workplaces

Legg Mason takes bold steps to reduce its environmental impact by tackling landfill waste
Apr 23, 2019 7:30 AM ET

Society increasingly expects businesses to operate in ways that enhance society. Harvard Business Review calls it “a movement to focus for-profit enterprises more on the essential work of enriching societies — that is, benefiting not only those humans who are their owners as publicly traded companies but also those who work in them and who stand to benefit from more purpose-driven innovation.”

“Investors today expect us to be a force for good. Our employees expect it. Our clients expect it. It’s a goal we work toward every day,” said Patty Lattin, Legg Mason’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “Our commitment is broad and encompasses not only our investment management strategies but our overall approach to the business, as well.

”Corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Legg Mason encompasses five areas — community engagement, diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, employee experience and investing that takes into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. When it comes to sustainability, new ideas come from a variety of sources, including Legg Mason’s Environmental Sustainability Council, which focuses on creating a sustainable future through reducing energy use, and its employee resource groups, including the Global Responsibility & Environmental Education Network (GREEN).

Water and Wellness
Since celebrating 10 years of CSR initiatives in 2018, Legg Mason has embarked on a series of new initiatives to drastically reduce the volume of waste being sent to landfills.

Three offices — Baltimore, New York and Stamford, CT— rolled out automated beverage dispensers this month. Rather than refrigerators stocked with single-use sodas, teas and waters, these Legg Mason offices now have machines that offer healthy, unsweetened, low-calorie drinks in flavors including coconut, cucumber, lemon and peach mango.

“These machines will help us eliminate as many as 130,000 bottles and cans from our waste stream annually,” said Lattin. “We’ve already eliminated plastic straws from our offices.”

The company also launched two programs aimed at reducing consumption of single-use plastics — Bin the Bin and Disposing of Disposables.

Bin the Bin
Employees are encouraged to reduce the use of plastic trash bin liners by removing individual trash bins from their desks and instead using receptacles placed in common areas. A side benefit is increased recycling and composting. Widespread participation could decrease consumption of single-use plastic bin liners by up to 125,000 bags per year. Legg Mason’s offices in London, Australia and Miami have achieved 100% participation.

Disposing of Disposables
Legg Mason calculated that its Baltimore, New York and Stamford offices alone used more than 500,000 straws, bottles, and coffee cups every year. Legg Mason has eliminated these single-use items from its pantries. Instead, reusable cutlery and glasses along with ceramic coffee mugs, plates and bowls are now available in pantries company wide. Employees have also been provided with reusable water bottles.

“Our mission and guiding aspiration is Investing to Improve Lives. These changes show that we’re doing more in our workplace and that clearly benefits the world around us,” Lattin summarized.

About Legg Mason
Guided by a mission of Investing to Improve Lives™, Legg Mason helps investors globally achieve better financial outcomes by expanding choice across investment strategies, vehicles and investor access through independent investment managers with diverse expertise in equity, fixed income, alternative and liquidity investments. Legg Mason’s assets under management are $758 billion as of March 31, 2019. To learn more, visit our web site, our newsroom, or follow us on LinkedInTwitter, or Facebook