The GARDEREGreen initiative was launched in 2007 to
reduce the Firm's carbon footprint and promote more sustainable business practices. Since then, the Firm has taken concrete steps to reduce energy consumption, paper usage, and waste production. It has also spearheaded a "hearts and minds" campaign within the Firm to encourage all lawyers and staff to apply green living outside the office as well.
In 2008, Gardere was the first Texas firm to partner with the American Bar Association and the Environmental Protection Agency in the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge.
Gardereís efforts began with an in-depth evaluation of the Firm's materials and waste stream, procurement policy, and operations to identify opportunities for energy efficiency and resource conservation. As a result of that evaluation, the Firm has instituted the following changes:
- Using ceramic cups and plastic glasses rather than Styrofoam (saving the Firm roughly $16,000 annually and reducing our Firm's contribution to landfills)
- Using kitchen
towels, napkins, and paper plates made with recycled paper
- Encouraging double-sided printing and copying, using electronic documents rather than printed whenever possible, and discouraging the printing of emails (saving the Firm roughly $10,000 annually, and about 350 trees as well)
- Recycling plastic, aluminum, and paper throughout offices
- Using energy efficient light bulbs in the Firm's Austin office, where the building in which we office has obtained an Energy Star Rating and is working on obtaining its LEED certification
- Recycling toner cartridges
- Purchasing Energy Star appliances when we are required to purchase a replacement
For its lawyers and staff, the Firm offered a Green seminar lunch series about environmental issues and education, and provided Green giveaways to attendees to encourage attendance. A unique highlight of the initial effort was a September 2008 presentation from actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr., who shared tips on how to live a more green lifestyle and the differences that can be made by one person and one business at a time.† Mr. Begley also met with clients to share his passion for the environment.
Gardere even carries the Green concept into its gift-giving. For the 2009 employment anniversary gift, the Firm gave employees a heavy-duty cloth shopping bag and a wheat grass plant.
The Firm's other environmental initiatives include sponsorship of the City of Dallas' Graffiti Wipeout Coalition, Dallas' Trinity River cleanup, City of Dallas EarthFest, and Keep Dallas Beautiful. Gardere also is a supporter of the University of Houston's Center for Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Law.
In addition, the Firm's Climate Change Task Force helps clients adapt to the changing legal and economic ynamics associated with climate change. In 2008, the Frm sponsored a climate change conference with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., as well as a conference of the Center for Global Sustainability and Ethics at the
University of Dallas Graduate School of Management. In December 2009, Partner Richard Faulk traveled to Denmark to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen while serving as a credentialed journalist, supplying expert coverage for daily publications and periodicals.
Gardere is committed to living and working Green. It not only has the potential to save our Firm's money - through reduced energy consumption and paper use - but it also reduces our Firm's negative impact on the planet we depend on for our survival.
We believe thatís an important business step worth taking.