Minister Speakman with the winners

Kids getting their hands dirty, saving useful items from landfill, sustainable supply chain efforts and achieving carbon neutrality were among the good green deeds lauded at last week’s Green Globe Awards, announced at the Art Gallery of NSW.

NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the awards recognised the 15 winners’ extraordinary talent and passion for the environment.

“This year’s prestigious Premier’s Award went to the Bower Reuse and Repair Centre, a non-profit reuse and repair centre which has collaborated with local councils to provide a rehoming service for furniture and other goods,” Mr Speakman said.

In the past financial year the centre had diverted 139 tonnes of material from landfills. Items including furniture, household goods, building materials and bicycles were repaired or upcycled and then distributed through community groups such as Mums4Refugees, Newtown Asylum Seeker Centre and Pyrmont Community Cares to asylum-seekers and other inner city residents in need of them.

Frasers Property Australia’s Fairwater development in Sydney’s west took out the Green Globe Award for the Built Environment category. The 38-hectare 6 Star Green Star – communities rated residential development on a former golf course was recognised for the manner in which is “locks in real outcomes in sustainable living for residents.”

Initiatives in the precinct include geothermal heating and cooling as standard for all homes, ecological restoration areas, active travel links to the surrounding area and child-friendly outdoor spaces.

“Winning the Green Globe award is a fantastic recognition of the innovation that has been put into Fairwater and further evidence of how we deliver on our promise of A Different Way of doing things to genuinely serve the needs of local communities – as well as the planet,” Ray Baksmati, development director, land, Frasers Property Australia said.

Frasers Property’s Andrew Thai-and-Olivia Leal-Walker with Robin Mellon

The Business Leadership award went to Unilever Australia and New Zealand: Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

Under the Sustainable Living Plan, the company aims to halve the environmental footprint of its products, sold in over 190 countries, by 2020. The company also works with other businesses, governments and NGOs to progress issues including climate change, deforestation and sustainable agriculture.

The judges said that with its complex supply chains and multiple business streams, Unilever is “starting to demonstrate change in areas from social engagement to materials use and there is real scope of impact and opportunities ahead.”

The Public Sector Leadership award was won by Sydney Metro (TfNSW): Sydney Metro Delivery Office.

The SMDO is an arm of Transport for NSW and is spearheading the delivery of the $20-billion Sydney Metro rail project.

The judges said the SMDO team was “establishing a high bar for best practice civil engineering projects.”

There were two winners in the Climate Change Leadership category, Teachers Mutual Bank and Charles Sturt University. CSU was also one of two winners of the award for Regional Sustainability.

Teachers Mutual Bank is carbon neutral and has a sustainability mandate that includes not lending to, or buying equity or debt in any large-scale greenhouse polluting activities including fossil fuel exploration, extraction, production and use.

“This award is a further validation of our commitment to ensuring sustainability is embedded across the business, and recognises us as a leader in climate change awareness, which is something our members and staff truly value,” Steve James, chief executive, Teachers Mutual Bank said.

Charles Sturt University was recognised for initiatives including becoming Australia’s first carbon-neutral university. This was achieved through a combination of carbon reduction programs and offsetting projects.

Between 2011 and 2015, CSU achieved a 32 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

It is also integrating sustainability principles across its curriculum, research, and operating practices.

The judges said CSU has “demonstrated an outstanding holistic approach to engaging staff, students and the community and being a sector leader in demonstrating carbon neutrality.”

The other winner in the Regional Sustainability category was the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance, a network of organisations working to establish wildlife corridors in the Bellinger River catchment on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

The winner of the Resource Efficiency award was the Get Grubby Project by Mememe Productions, the Grafton-based creators of international multi-media success, dirtgirlworld.

“This interactive website targets our preschools and empowers children to do little things that have a big impact,” Mr Speakman said.

“Through the powerful tool of storytelling children learn how to maintain worm farms, grow their own vegetables and be energy and water wise.”

An independent panel of environmental experts helped select this year’s winners. Judges across the various categories including Robin Mellon, chief executive of the supply Chain sustainability school; Kristin Brookfield from HIA, Megan Jones principal of Tanner Kibble Denton Architects, Andrew Peterson, chief executive of Sustainable business Australia; Emari Samarakoon from Lendlease, Antony Sprigg, chief executive of ISCA; Felicity Wilson, NSW deputy director Property Council of Australia; Kate Harris chief executive of Good Environmental Choice Australia; and Luke Menzel chief executive of the Energy Efficiency Council.

Mark Speakman and the Bower’s Louise Gulbis and Annette Mayne

Other winners

Sustainability Champion –  Sue Turner: The Uniform Exchange, a shop front and on-line marketplace for the buying and selling of second-hand school uniforms, books, sporting equipment and musical instruments. Items are either fixed or donated to not-for-profit partners delivering clothing and equipment to charities in Swaziland, Vanuatu, PNG and the Solomon Islands.

Young sustainability champion  – Joshua Gilbert. A Worimi man from the Mid North Coast of NSW, Mr Gilbert is the former chair of the NSW Young Farmers organisation, and an advocate for biodiversity, action on climate change, renewable energy and “revolutionising the way we talk about agriculture and Indigenous issues in Australia”. He was invited by Al Gore to become part of the Climate Reality project in 2015, and has been a speaker for the Office of Environment and Heritage, Oxfam International, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Common Grace.

Innovation award – HealthShare NSW: HealthShare Sustainable Service Delivery – this initiative changes the way meals are ordered by patients in NSW hospitals to reduce food waste and increase the range of choices available to patients.

Natural environment – Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc: Working together – Cross Property Planning

  • Read more about the winners and finalists here