The Kalleske brothers with their Gold Banksia.

The Banksia Sustainability Awards took place at an all-day affair last week in Sydney. Building on last year’s initiative to communicate the collective wisdom generated through the program, the Banksia Foundation organised a range of presentations, including a four-minute rapid fire from each of the award finalists.

The Gold Banksia was won by Kalleske Wines, a family-run business in South Australia’s Barossa Valley that has been farming and growing grapes since 1853. The award judges commented on how thrilling it was to see an small-to-medium business using “a whole business model” approach to sustainability. Its energy efficiency and use of solar made it a leading net exporter of electricity in Australia. Kalleske has applied science and innovation to the way it manages the farm, crop and the wine itself and its water use is nearly 50 per cent more efficient than the Australian winery benchmark.

“Our energy efficiency is a result of using evaporative cooling instead of refrigeration, utilising product heat exchange and storing barrels of wine in a double skin insulated barrels shed requiring no external cooling,” Mr Kalleske said.

The category winners ranged from community groups, SMBs, government educational programs and local councils through to large corporations.

Outstanding projects related to the built environment included Bairnsdale Library in Victoria, Canberra Airport, and Lendlease for its Barangaroo Reserve, which took out the award for Sustainability in Design, Build: Buildings, Landscapes and Infrastructure Projects.

Barangaroo Reserve is a six-hectare headland park set among bushland and features a sandstone foreshore designed to mimic the original 1836 headland. The most outstanding sustainability achievements include the reuse of 98 per cent of material excavated on site, an integrated water re-use system that provides for the park’s future irrigation needs, and a planting program that replicates the vegetation of the area before European settlement.

In regard to products there were a number of interesting finalists including: Casafico, Fieldtech Solutions and CIM Environmental Group.

Casafico’s Polystat prefabricated panels are an all-in-one product combining the frame and insulation, with cavities for services and a finished coat, ready for accelerated installation on site. The polystyrene core provides high thermal efficiency insulation, saving on heating and cooling costs. Transport efficiencies are also gained from not moving small amounts of materials to site, saving time and minimising greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and congestion from up to 60 per cent reduced truck movements.

Winner in its category, Fieldtech Solutions, is replacing conventional disposable plastic products with landfill-biodegradable plastic products. The company also replaces other longer life products made from plastic or other materials with recycled plastic materials to save our resources.

Finally, CIM Environmental Group is a disruptive Industrial Internet of Things technology company delivering significant energy savings for commercial property owners. Its hardware and software platform is delivering its clients energy cost savings of 10-15 per cent on average, along with improved tenant comfort, better environmental ratings, more effective maintenance and longer life-cycle of equipment.

New built environment whitepaper

To further build on the collective insight into Australia’s sustainability offered by finalists and participants in the Banksias over the years, the foundation has begun publishing a series of whitepapers, the first now available, looking at the built environment.

“We chose the ‘future of the built environment’ as our first topic because the scale, diversity and integration of the built environment profoundly influences the future of sustainable business practice in Australia,” the report states.

To develop the paper, Banksia worked with winners and finalists to investigate how and why they have become leaders and innovators. It also asked them to look into the future – towards 2020 – to assess how their progress would help boost sustainability in their respective fields.

A key theme of the responses is the effort it takes to convince sceptics, both within organisations and industry-wide.

Investa’s response is a reminder that the sustainability projects most deserving of accolade aren’t necessarily media darlings – they are often the projects that cut through the red tape that smothers innovations like trigeneration.

That said, Investa’s answers also show that even the most well-considered, cost-effective solutions can be stymied by bureaucracy and economics.

The winners:

  • The Banksia International Award Winner: Paul Polman, CEO Unilever
  • The Environment Ministers Award for a Cleaner Environment: Allen Riseley, and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
  • The Richard Pratt Banksia CEO Award: Mark Ryan, CEO, Tassal, TAS
  • The Banksia Large Business Sustainability Leadership Award winner: Australia Post, VIC
  • The Banksia SMB Leadership Award winner: Kalleske – Sustainable Pioneers in Organic Wine, SA
  • The Banksia Smart Technology Award winner: A New Generation Flood Emergency Decision Support System, Gold Coast City Council, QLD
  • The Banksia Food For Sustainable Thought Award winner: Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework: Making dairy food sustainable for the long term, Australian Dairy Industry Council, VIC
  • The Banksia Sustainable Communities Award winner: Grown & Gathered – Empowering Community Through Sustainable Food Systems and a Bright Future, VIC
  • The Banksia Sustainable Water Management Award winner: Managing the Swan River During the Development of Elizabeth Quay, Leighton Broad, WA
  • The Banksia Natural Capital Award winner: Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife, TAS
  • The Banksia Innovator of the Year Award winner: The Perth Wave Energy Project, Carnegie Wave Energy Limited NSW
  • The Banksia Education for Sustainability Award winner: ResourceSmart Schools, Sustainability Victoria, VIC
  • The Banksia Sustainability in Design, Build Award – Buildings, Landscapes and Infrastructure: Barangaroo Reserve by Lendlease, NSW
  • The Banksia Sustainability in Design, Build Award – Products: Fieldtech Solutions, VIC
  • The Banksia Indigenous Leadership for Sustainability Award winner: Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism Aboriginal Corporation, NT
  • The Banksia Mindful Movement Award winner: UNSW Solar Racing Team Sunswift
  • The Gold Banksia Award winner: Kalleske – Sustainable Pioneers in Organic Wine, SA
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