2011 Winners

OUR WINNERS

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2011 Winners

Transportation – Mindful Movement

Transportation – Mindful Movement

Making Electric Cars Make Sense
Better Place Australia, VIC
Better Place is the only company in Australia that is currently deploying a fully integrated, customer-focused solution for owners of electric cars, powered by 100% renewable electricity. Our aim is to provide the charge network and services that ensure drivers have the confidence to drive their electric cars wherever they want, whenever they want. Furthermore, the emergence of a new, high volume customer for green electricity with strong growth prospects is expected to spur further investment in the renewable energy sector. The Better Place network in Australia will deliver significant and immediate reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions. For each and every petrol car that is replaced by a renewably powered electric car, almost 4 tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere will be avoided each year. The Better Place system is remarkable in that it promises significant environmental benefits whilst requiring almost no change in consumer behaviour.

Comments from Judges

Building on stakeholder partnerships with key organisations in a sector that are committed to developing the Electric Vehicle market impressed Judges. Judges also commended Betterplace’s efforts in developing partnerships with key stakeholders to address potential issues and barriers to implementation. Judges saw how Betterplace’s innovation in addressing the issue of infrastructure for the EV market is key to its implementation in Australia.

Clean Technology – Harnessing Opportunities

Clean Technology – Harnessing Opportunities

BlueGen – clean power for your home

Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd., VIC

Ceramic Fuel Cells is an Australian company leading the world in controllable, low-carbon electricity production. Spun-out from the CSIRO in 1992, Ceramic Fuel Cells is commercialising BlueGen – a mini power station for homes and businesses. Each BlueGen can generate up to 13,000 kilowatt-hours of low-emission electricity every year. That’s more than twice the amount of electricity used by the average home, with surplus electricity being exported to the grid. BlueGen uses widely available natural gas and can operate on future renewable fuels such as biogas. BlueGen delivers not only lower cost electricity, but can also save significant amounts of carbon when displacing electricity derived from brown coal. For example, BlueGen can save up to 33 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in Victoria. Today, Ceramic Fuel Cells is commercialising this Australian innovation across nine countries. BlueGen will change the way electricity is produced and consumed, moving towards a low-carbon future.

Comments from Judges

The Judges commented on Bluegen’s astonishing broad application, incredibly cutting edge technology, with the potential to have broad impact. An innovative and commercially focussed technology with excellent partnerships in place, both domestically and internationally the judges felt that this is a fine example of Australian technological innovation.

Leading in Sustainability – Setting the Standard for Small Organisations

Leading in Sustainability – Setting the Standard for Small Organisations

Greening The Wharf

Sydney Theatre Company, NSW

Under the leadership of Artistic Directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett, Sydney Theatre Company (STC) has transformed The Wharf into an international example of 21st century best environmental practice. The most comprehensive environmental program of any performing arts company in the world, “Greening The Wharf” has become a catalyst for the creation of a unique Green Precinct in the Barangaroo / Walsh Bay area and has established STC as a world leader in the arts in this crucial area. Since 2009, STC has delivered wide-ranging energy and water usage reduction initiatives, infrastructural modifications including the installation of an innovative rainwater harvesting system and massive rooftop photovoltaic solar array, and through the implementation of sustainable policies and procedures effecting organisational cultural change. Greening The Wharf is a practical demonstration of what can be achieved with commitment, proper analysis and careful planning and has become a high profile exemplar of the kind of action that all Australians can take in playing their part in combating Climate Change.

Comments from Judges

The Wharf is a standout initiative for the arts sector, commented the Judges. The work and thought they have put into improving the environmental performance of their site is impressive, incorporated with educating the patrons who visit the venue. The judges were particularly impressed with the initiatives under the company practices and processes and the articulated benefits that reached beyond environmental and economic, and included artistic and reputational benefits.

Leading in Sustainability – Setting the Standard for Large Organisations

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Leading in Sustainability – Setting the Standard for Large Organisations

Sustainability is Good for Business

Fujitsu, VIC

Ambitious: At Fujitsu we aim to reduce GHG emissions worldwide by 15 million tons, over the four year period 2008 to 2012. Ours is a long term, quantified sustainability vision taking us to 2100, with target milestones set to the year 2020. Our Green Policy 2020 provides a vision for a prosperous, low carbon future. Genuine: Sustainability is a guiding principle for how we work with customers and within society as a whole. Our approach is strategy lead and is not only about reducing our own footprint, it is about helping our customers do the same. Responsive: Fujitsu’s cutting edge R&D results in leading green products and solutions that are shaping the Green IT landscape. We acknowledge both the seriousness of climate change and that it is happening faster than initially predicted, so we are accelerating our already impressive response to what many define as “the issue of our times”.

Comments from Judges

The Judges commented that this was an extremely impressive entry, with compelling evidence that supports the integration of sustainability principles into the corporate culture. The breadth and scale of the program is comprehensive with results being reflected both internally and externally. Fujitsu have strong environmental credentials with the potential to influence significant energy and greenhouse gas reduction with customers. They have also shown refinement and improvement over time.

Built Environment – Harmonious Manmade Landscapes

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Built Environment – Harmonious Manmade Landscapes

Hepburn Community Wind Farm
Hepburn Wind, VIC

Hepburn Wind is a community co-operative who have built Australia’s first community owned wind farm. Almost 1900 people, mostly local to the area, have pooled funds to build a two turbine, 4.1 MW wind farm at Leonards Hill, in Central Victoria.

Hepburn Wind is a stellar example of how a community has catalysed the development of a whole new industry sector — community owned renewable energy. The project has been built by the community to benefit the community and is a standout example of a social enterprise.

With the turbines complete and generating clean, safe electricity, we are excited by the platform we have created. National recognition of our achievements, through the Banksia Awards, will assist us to explain the opportunity of local engagement with renewable energy (not just wind energy) to a wide group of communities, and ensure steady growth for the community energy sector.

Comments from Judges

Judges commended Hepburn Wind on its community engagement to commit to the project and it’s funding. The impressive data on its performance and its value to the local community impressed on Judges its potential for long-term viability. Also the establishment of Embark to provide guidance and lessons learned for other communities to learn from impressed the judges.

Agriculture and Food – From Paddock to Plate Sustainably

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Agriculture and Food – From Paddock to Plate Sustainably

Gaia banana farming: for healthy soils, wetlands and Great Barrier Reef

Gaia farms, QLD

Gaia farms, a family unit, is about producing bananas with the whole system in mind. Our mantra is to farm sustainably, by building soil health for healthier plants, less chemical inputs and more nutritious bananas, whilst maintaining commercial scale production. Since starting this banana farm near Silkwood 18 years ago we have been working to protect the creeks adjoining our farm and manage our farm runoff for the health of the Great Barrier Reef, only 10 km away. Our latest endeavour has been the construction of a 2.45 hectare wetland to capture and treat runoff from part of our farm and packing shed. The wetland has been a collaborative project, jointly funded by ourselves, Terrain NRM, through Reef Rescue and the Queensland Wetlands Program, with technical support from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and Growcom. Despite a setback after Cyclone Yasi, the wetland system is establishing well and has become a haven for wildlife and a focal point for the property.

Comments from Judges

The Judges found that Gaia Farms illustrated innovation, being the company driver in its commitment to its practices, its people, right through to its marketing. The reach of these farming innovations are recognised at both local and regional levels. This winner also provides a good potential solution to the current issue of chemical outflow affecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Water – Our Most Precious Resource

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Water – Our Most Precious Resource

Gippsland Water Factory – A new way to care for water

Gippsland Water, VIC

Gippsland Water Factory turned conventional wastewater treatment on its head. The innovative wastewater treatment system addresses a serious environmental issue and incorporates water recycling to provide a sustainable solution for central Gippsland in Victoria. Built with the primary aim of removing untreated odorous wastewater from more than 40km of open sewer, Gippsland Water Factory improves the freshwater environment by recycling domestic wastewater from 11 Gippsland towns for re-use, freeing up water in local rivers and reservoirs. The project set a new standard for delivery of wastewater treatment infrastructure in Australia and resulted in a reduced volume and massive step-change improvement to the quality of treated industrial wastewater discharged to the ocean. Gippsland Water Factory goes well beyond compliance and is a project the community can be proud of. It incorporates sustainable design features, a water education centre, and is world-first in the way it treats industrial pulp and paper wastewater.

Comments from Judges

The Judges found this to be a very effective example of community and political engagement that is underpinned by technology-based thought leadership. It delivers an engineering solution with some excitement and vision – a result that allows the region to further develop its local agriculture and industry in an environmentally sustainable manner. This is an inspiring and impressive result.

Land and Biodiversity – Preserving Our Ecosystems

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Land and Biodiversity – Preserving Our Ecosystems

Fox-Free Phillip Island Victoria, Australia

Phillip Island Nature Parks, VIC

Imagine a fox-free ecosystem, we did. Why? Because foxes were threatening Phillip Island’s Little Penguins, wildlife and biodiversity. The introduction of foxes to Phillip Island in the early 1900s was devastating. Nine of the ten existing penguin colonies were lost – with foxes the primary cause. In 1985, our team at Phillip Island Nature Parks in Victoria instigated a fox control program – but the kills continued. Our vision became to eradicate foxes completely. In 2007, despite tough economic times, we committed to implementing a Fox Eradication Strategy for Phillip Island and allocated $700 000 over 5 years to a unique, multi-faceted approach of science, fieldwork, partnerships and technological innovation. Success! In the past two years, no Little Penguins have been killed by foxes! And, numbers of birds and wildlife are increasing. We are proud to be ensuring Phillip Island’s biodiversity and providing a model to other ecosystems.

Comments from Judges

Judges remarked on Phillip Island’s fantastic partnerships and their drive to make the Island Fox free with innovative methods of eradication and trialling. This is a great example to other communities wanting to eradicate feral species.

2011 Indigenous – Caring for country

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 2011 Indigenous – Caring for country

West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Partnership: a 140% success

Warddeken Land Management for WALFA partners, NT

In partnership with Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation, Bawinanga Aboriginal Coporation, Mimarl and Adjumarlarl Rangers

In 1997 five indigenous land management groups began working together to develop and test a plan to address the environmentally damaging effects of late dry season wildfire on the West Arnhem Plateau. By 2006 the project attracted industry funding for its greenhouse gas abatement work and the following year won a Eureka Prize for innovative solutions to climate change. From 2006 to 2010 the indigenous partners on-ground management abated 706,956 tonnes CO2e — a 140% success against the target of 100,000 tonnes CO2e pa. WALFA’s success has inspired other indigenous groups across north Australia to work towards other regional indigenous schemes of emission abatement. WALFA is an extraordinary success. A previously intractable conservation and environmental management problem – how to assert management control over the most fire-prone landscapes on earth – has been solved.

Comments from Judges

The Judging Panel highlighted the importance of this project providing an inherent collaboration between traditional knowledge and contemporary scientific practice – a key reconnection to country and culture. They also found that they have been able to provide a model for an international issue in an innovative and local manner, and combine the provision of employment for Indigenous people through a well integrated working partnership ranging from Government, Universities and the scientific sector through to the Aboriginal Community.

Education Award – Raising the Bar

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Education Award – Raising the Bar

Gippsland Water Factory – A new way to care for water
Gippsland Water, VIC

The Vortex Centre is an exciting and innovative community educational facility based at the Gippsland Water Factory – a world first wastewater treatment and recycling system located at Maryvale in south-east Victoria. Featuring interactive displays, touch-screens and powerful videos, the Vortex focuses on water conservation and sustainable water management; highlighting water as a precious resource at a local, state, national and global level. The Vortex plays a key role in delivering Gippsland Water’s vision to create an environmental and social legacy through its new education program, ‘Water Wonders’; both for students, the local community and water stakeholders. The inspiring building, hands-on activities, engaging programs, and distinctive location combine to promote behavioural change and increased awareness of the need to use water responsibly. Described as ‘the building that teaches’, the centre features sustainable design elements to minimise energy consumption and ensure the Vortex itself practices what it preaches.

Comments from Judges

The Judges were impressed that this project combined the “outer” (environmentally friendly building) with the “inner” (the behaviour change through education) in a highly engaging and innovative program that strategically targeted and provided the respective level of education from primary school to tertiary level. Judges commented on the degree of detail considered in engaging the local public and see this as a real example of a living educational model.

2011 Origin Gold Banksia Award

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The Origin Gold Banksia Award

Gippsland Water Factory – A new way to care for water
Gippsland Water, VIC

The Vortex Centre is an exciting and innovative community educational facility based at the Gippsland Water Factory – a world first wastewater treatment and recycling system located at Maryvale in south-east Victoria. Featuring interactive displays, touch-screens and powerful videos, the Vortex focuses on water conservation and sustainable water management; highlighting water as a precious resource at a local, state, national and global level. The Vortex plays a key role in delivering Gippsland Water’s vision to create an environmental and social legacy through its new education program, ‘Water Wonders’; both for students, the local community and water stakeholders. The inspiring building, hands-on activities, engaging programs, and distinctive location combine to promote behavioural change and increased awareness of the need to use water responsibly. Described as ‘the building that teaches’, the centre features sustainable design elements to minimise energy consumption and ensure the Vortex itself practices what it preaches.

Comments from Judges

The Judges were impressed that this project combined the “outer” (environmentally friendly building) with the “inner” (the behaviour change through education) in a highly engaging and innovative program that strategically targeted and provided the respective level of education from primary school to tertiary level. Judges commented on the degree of detail considered in engaging the local public and see this as a real example of a living educational model.