It’s a “night of nights” for sustainability in Victoria when the winners of the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards are announced. As the stature of the Awards has grown, so have the benefits for winners and finalists alike.
There are some unexpected benefits for Victoria’s sustainability champions looking to boost their profile through the Premier’s Sustainability Awards, whether they reach the winner’s podium or are among the award finalists.
According to Sustainability Victoria chief executive Stan Krpan the awards not only help to expand networks but they also increase engagement with stakeholders.
“In the Awards’ 16-year history, businesses, schools, organisations and community groups have enjoyed the opportunity to not only demonstrate their sustainability work, but to promote it with their broader stakeholders,” he says.
The recognition strengthens existing relationships with stakeholders, and supports future engagement. Even the entry process itself has benefits.
Previous finalists and winners report that completing the entry leads to reflection and pride in what they have achieved. It’s great for staff morale.
Julie McKay, founder and managing director of Enable, a 2017 finalist in the Community and Environmental Justice categories, says Enable entered the awards to share the success story of how its Enable Brighter Futures Employability program is creating and delivering both social and environmental impact.
“As a registered charity and not-for-profit, we believed being involved with the Awards would serve to bolster our profile and assist with our social procurement strategies to work with corporate and government sectors on the ethical disposal of e-waste,” she explains.
“We are well on our way to achieving this through the finalist nominations.”
There is also a reputational benefit to having green credentials recognised – and this can give entrants a marketing edge.
An added bonus is that Sustainability Victoria supports finalists and winners with media releases and promotional collateral.
Another finalist last year, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), entered the Government section of last year’s awards on behalf of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE).
MAV’s Natasha Palich says that being recognised as a finalist was an honour for CASBE, and drew focus to its work in the sustainable built environments space.
“To be amongst the other finalists, participating in such an esteemed event, emphasised the important role we all have to play in the larger collective effort,” she says.
Dawn O’Neil, director of eWater Systems, which won both Innovative Products or Services and the Premier’s Recognition Award, says the company had been actively looking for an award that has prestige and would provide further credibility to its brand.
O’Neil says the entry process was straightforward and included a request for tangible measurement of impact and outcomes.
This was not difficult for the company as it was already transparent about data such as how many chemicals its technology has replaced and how much money it has saved users.
“Being a B Corporation also helped because of the rigour this requires to be accredited. It gives credibility to electrolysed water as a technology and to eWater Systems as a leader in the new category of on-site generators replacing packaged chemicals,” she says.
“It’s also a validation of eWater Systems as a company and its purpose – reducing our chemical footprint – particularly by an organisation like Sustainability Victoria.”
Stan Krpan says the Awards celebrate sustainability “not just for its own sake, but the flow on effects that are felt right throughout the community”.
“We have an incredible depth of sustainability talent in Victoria – they’re saving energy and resources, developing and applying new technology reducing and re-purposing waste, regenerating natural and man-made environments,” he says.
Involvement in the program offers unique opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and create new opportunities.
And, the Awards ceremony is the night of nights for Victoria’s sustainability sector.
“We encourage all community or government groups, schools or organisations, small or large businesses with a commitment to sustainability to enter the Awards this year, promote their terrific work and highlight the ways they have benefited.”
Entries are open for the 2018 Premiers Sustainability Awards until Thursday 7 June.
There are 10 categories in this year’s Premier’s Sustainability Awards:
- Built Environment
- Environmental Justice
- Environmental Protection
- Innovative Products or Services
- Large Business
- Small and Medium Enterprises.
As well as awards in each of these categories, the Premier will personally select two overall winners for the Premier’s Regional Recognition Award and the Premier’s Recognition Award.
For more information on the awards criteria, registering for updates and a free information session, and to read about past finalists and winners, visit www.sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au