Cooper Grace Ward is committed to the sustainability of our team, our community and our environment. We have a history of working in close and active partnership with our community to help share the benefits of our knowledge and success. The sustainability of our environment and our community are at the core of our business and we embrace the opportunities they provide to develop our team.
In 2013, Cooper Grace Ward was a finalist in the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards in the category of Corporate Citizenship, which recognises companies that demonstrate leadership and excellence across triple bottom-line criteria – economic, social and environmental performance, as well demonstrating leadership in the development of their people including staff development, incentives and work/life balance.
As part of our commitment to our community, CGW supports community programs that enhance and improve welfare, environmental projects or medical research.
During 2012 and 2013, the CGW People + Planet Program raised funds for one core charity, The Pyjama Foundation, which provides literacy support and material comforts to some of the most vulnerable people in our society, children in foster care.
We also participate in Club Red, the Australian Red Cross’s blood donation program, and the RACQ Insurance International Women’s Day Fun Run. Many other charity activities take place across the firm throughout the year.
Pro bono services
We have a strong commitment to delivering pro bono legal services. We are a member of the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH), which provides us with the opportunity to contribute to pro bono legal services for disadvantaged members of the community. We also provide pro bono legal services including business structuring and general legal advice to not-for-profit organisations. As a firm, we currently provide more than 30 hours’ pro bono legal services per month, which has included advice to organisations such as:
- Thancoupie’s Bursary Fund
- Asbestos and Mesothelloma Support Group
- Circa Contemporary Circus
- International Anti-Poaching Foundation
- The Australian Wild Law Alliance
- The Karuna Hospice Service
- Melanoma Patients Australia
- Sids and Kids Queensland
In addition, our lawyers contribute their time to various committees within industry associations and educational institutions at no cost, as well as providing lectures and other educational presentations to these entities. We also have several lawyers who assist in free legal clinics for homeless people and disadvantaged members of our community.
Corporate sustainability is embedded in the way we do business at Cooper Grace Ward and we are committed to reducing our environmental footprint. We are recognised as an EcoBiz Partner by the Department of Environment and Resource Management for our efforts in reducing resource consumption and increasing the amount of recycling, and we are members of Australian Legal Sector Alliance, an industry-led association working to promote sustainable practices across the legal sector. We participate as a firm in Clean Up Australia Day and Earth Hour, and have provided pro bono services to Pine Rivers Koala Care Association.
Below are some of the actions we have taken to reduce CGW’s environmental footprint:
- reducing our total carbon emissions by over 20% in 2013
- joining the CitySwitch Green Office program and the Australian Legal Sector Alliance
- implementing an environmental sustainability policy, which includes our sustainable purchasing policy
- reviewing our stationery supplies, to ensure a reduction of the range carried and an increase in the proportion of environmentally friendly products stocked, including the use of carbon neutral office paper
- installing a purpose built server room which utilises energy efficient in-rack cooling and server virtualisation, resulting in fewer servers needed. The number of servers in use at any point in time varies with the level of demand experienced
- reducing the length of time for the MFDs to go into standby mode from four hours to 90 minutes – this simple change is estimated to save more than 200kg of CO2 each year
- including environmental sustainability in our team induction program and providing monthly sustainability updates to all team members
- including corporate social responsibility as an area for performance targets in all workgroup business plans
- relocating to a Five Star Green Star designed building at 400 George Street in October 2009
- reducing our landfill waste by providing full recycling facilities at work – over 60% of our waste is now recycled
- using Bokashi bins to collect our food scraps and providing recycling facilities for spectacles, mobile phones, CDs, batteries and books
- reducing the number of office vending machines by half
- providing our team members with access to Go Cards for work journeys where appropriate and supporting Brisbane’s CityCycle program.
North Quay Revegetation Project
In 2011, CGW developed an initiative to give back to our community and local environment, with a plan to revegetate a patch of land along the Brisbane River between William Jolly Bridge and the John Oxley memorial.
Following discussions with Brisbane City Council and other relevant government bodies, and under the guidance of BCC’s Greening Australia, a two-year project was established to revegetate and provide ongoing maintenance to land fringing the North Quay bike/walkway.
The project commenced with an intensive effort to remove weeds and rubbish and prepare the area for the planting of more than 300 trees, shrubs and grasses, followed by thorough mulching and watering.
The first few months of the project saw the team invest significant resources to provide weekly watering and maintenance. Henceforth, an ongoing program of monthly weeding and maintenance was implemented, with top-up mulching occurring approximately every six months. The firm collects food scraps in Bokashi bins located in our team kitchen, which are used as compost to improve the soil quality at the site.