Gadens recognises that our enduring success requires economic growth that both protects and promotes social equity and ecological sustainability. Our sustainability program encompasses this philosophy in the four spheres in which we operate including our workplace, the marketplace, the community and the environment.
Within each of these spheres we aim to achieve the following sustainable outcomes:
1. Workplace – engaging with all of our people to create an environment that promotes individuality and diversity while instilling pride in the firm and its collective values.
2. Marketplace – consistent excellence in our delivery of legal advice and services, focused on commercial solutions for our clients.
3. Community – interacting with the wider community and promoting emerging arts, youth initiatives, community projects and providing pro bono legal services.
4. Environment – minimising our impact on the environment and taking responsibility for our environmental footprint.
Many of the programs and initiatives that make up our sustainability program have developed organically over several decades, such as our support for the arts which has grown and evolved since the 1960s. More recently we have joined the Australian Legal Sector Alliance and have committed to publicly reporting on our sustainability initiatives.
Examples of our current initiatives include:
Sustainability Report – In 2012 we launched our inaugural sustainability report. In 2013 we are again proud to publicly showcase the breadth of activities the firm continues to undertake in the important areas of indigenous, environment, community, marketplace and the workplace through our 2013 Sustainability Report.
Greener Gadens – We have been running the Greener Gadens program since 2005. Involving all levels of staff, the program has helped bring about improved environmental awareness, management and performance across the firm. Examples of successful initiatives include sourcing our energy from renewable resources, switching to locally sourced, recycled stock paper and the incorporation of energy efficient materials and design principles into our major office refurbishment.
Arts program – We have had an enduring relationship with the arts world which we continue to nurture. Beyond offering traditional forms of corporate support to the arts, our approach is based on a philosophy of creative engagement. Examples of this include the display of artwork created by our summer clerks in our foyer, our ‘Poetry in Action’ program and our sponsorship of the National Arts School and AbaF.
Pro Bono legal services – Gadens recognises the importance of fostering sustainable communities. We believe that lawyers should use their knowledge and skills to assist those who may not otherwise be able to access, or afford, legal services. Providing pro bono legal work is our way of assisting equitable access to justice and supporting sustainability in communities. Gadens’ extensive experience with charities, arts and community organisations enables us to provide a wide range of pro bono services to numerous organisations and individuals in need including emerging artists and the arts sector, Indigenous organisations and communities, the rural sector and other charitable organisations.
Gadens runs a targeted secondment program to support the provision of legal assistance to community legal centres or communities in need. Our solicitors have participated in secondments with organisations such the Environmental Defenders Office and Salvos Legal. We also support targeted legal centre programs, such as the Artists in the Black program run by the Arts Law Centre of Australia and the Welfare Rights’ Centre’s Homeless Legal Clinic.
In recognition of our pro bono legal services Gadens was awarded the NSW & ACT 2012 Partnering award from the Australian Business Arts Foundation for our partnership with Poetry In Action and the SA 2012 SME Award for partnering with the Adelaide Youth Orchestras. In May 2013 our solicitors were also awarded Arts Community Pro Bono Awards by the Arts Law Centre of Australia (ALCA) for their contribution to work on the Artists in the Black project and Arts Law Centre pro bono work and in September 2013 won the Law Society of South Australia’s Justice Award for their contribution to pro bono work in SA.
Oz Harvest – We provide left over food to Oz Harvest. Every year Australians throw out 3 million tonnes of food worth $5.2 billion. Poverty causes 60,000 low-income families to go without at least one meal every day, and 2 million people rely on food relief at some point every year.
United Way – Gadens continues an ongoing commitment with United Way Australia in 2013 by forming partnerships with two schools in South and Western Sydney, James Meehan High School and South Sydney High School. Our people are given the opportunity to participate in United Way events held with these schools, to help create greater skills and employment opportunities for their students, and to create lasting changes in our community.
Click here to read more about United Way and Gadens in 2013.
United Way is the world’s largest privately funded not for profit organisation, which aims to improve lives by creating lasting changes in community conditions – focusing in particular on education, financial stability and health. They recruit the people and organisations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. For more information on United Way visit: www.unitedway.com.au
Women's Legal Service – Gadens Brisbane supports Women’s Legal Service in Queensland, a community legal service that provides free legal advice and information to women, particularly victims of domestic violence and broken relationships. As well as a commitment to donating $75,000 over the next three years, Gadens recently hosted a reception in its Brisbane office to generate further corporate support for this worthy cause and donated a host of computers to assist with the Centre’s service delivery.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan
We believe that reconciliation is important to our people, our clients, our community and Australia’s future.
Since launching our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2012, we have consolidated a national commitment to reconciliation, with a focus on education as the key to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Over the last 12 months, we have continued to strengthen our partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through the numerous initiatives outlined in our current Innovate RAP for 2015-2016, and through our objectives for the year ahead.
Click here to view our updated Innovate RAP for 2015 – 2016: this is currently under review with Reconciliation Australia, with endorsement to follow in the coming weeks.
Please view the links below to view our previous Reconciliation Action Plans:
Innovate RAP 2014 - 2015 (includes the Watarrka School song, written by Gadens solicitor, Michael Collins).
Innovate RAP 2013 - 2014
Reconciliation Action Plan 2012
We will continue to build on our foundations and strive to continually improve our delivery of sustainable outcomes for all stakeholders in our business.