2019 BANKSIA SMALL BUSINESS AWARD

OUR WINNERS

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BANKSIA FOUNDATION

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HONOUR
ROLL


2019 BANKSIA SMALL BUSINESS AWARD

 

 

Finalists:

ASPIRE, VIC
eWater Systems, VIC
Kernel Property, NSW
Plastic Police, NSW
WISE – It’s in your hands, VIC

Winner:
How Now Dairy, VIC

How Now Dairy developed following a shared passion to produce dairy products from a farm where cows and their newborn calves were not separated, and “bobby calves” (the 450 thousand 5-day-old males sent to slaughter each year in Australia) did not exist. Cathy and Les challenged themselves with these questions: “Can milk be produced in a truly ethical manner, and genuinely in harmony with nature? And, importantly, can it be commercially viable?

Australians love dairy, on average consuming 100L milk, 13kg cheese, 5kg butter, 9kg yoghurt (RSPCA) each p/year. But this comes at a high price to the animals. City based music publisher and animal rights activist meets 3rd generation dairyman – an unlikely recipe for a relationship, let alone a successful business, but sometimes it’s this sort of chance meeting that inspires something truly special. Armed with a simple mission: “to change the way dairy is done, one cow at a time”, the pair got busy. Drawing on Dr Les’ broad industry expertise, they worked through the problems and potential solutions to develop a “cow-centric” dairying model that simultaneously met the ethical demands of welfare-conscious consumers, put the wellbeing of the cow and calf first, added a spark of hope to the rapidly decreasing number of dairy farms, and was environmentally beneficial.

We were determined to keep our cows and calves together during lactation and built our management around this. Careful semen selection ensured only female calves were born and that these would grow and develop without horns. Behaviours of our cows continues to change daily. Our first cows were fiercely protective of their calves, likely assuming our presence was yet again to separate them from their newborn babies: trust is hard-earned in the bovine world regardless of how passionate you are. The girls relaxed as daily routines developed around milking and grazing, babies accompanying mum from the paddock to the dairy. Handling, touching, hovering nearby were all part of the gradual building of trust. Organisation within the herd was quickly established. The herd developed a calf-creche system allowing cows to graze in turns, but always with one or two mums amongst the calves quietly watching over them. We began to hear conversations among the cows: different calls for the calves when strangers approach; annoyed calls for a calf to come home; gentle, loving lowing when grooming their calves. We could sense things change as we had hoped. From the outset, we understood this would be a work in progress requiring constant refinement. We now know it is both possible and viable. The consumer’s social consciousness around food has raced beyond provenance to principle: ethics are already front and centre in food choices among millennials. How Now Dairy is meeting that need. Our results, whilst not purely quantitative speak volumes through the calm state of the cows and their babies, their sublime trust in us and the high standard of the end product. Consumers all over Australia are seeking out How Now Milk. How Now Milk has received several awards competing against many major industrial dairy producers – Delicious Produce Awards: “Best Milk in Victoria” 2017, 2018. Australian Food Awards: Silver Medal 2018, Gold Medal 2019.

Winner:
Spell & The Gypsy, NSW
We have launched a sustainability roadmap that encompasses our ambitions in the areas of supply chain transparency, transitioning to preferred fibers, eliminating hazardous chemicals, combating our climate footprint, tackling circular fashion, philanthropic efforts and more. We believe that fashion can be a force for good and have made significant progress in transforming our business to make a positive impact to both the environment and the community. Our yearly impact report illustrates key milestones and is certified by an independent auditor to verify each claim. Some clear milestones include 100% of tier 1 supply chain signed our code of conduct. 87% of tier 1 suppliers ethically certified. 40% of tier 1 suppliers are environmentally certified. Recycled fibres represent 9% if our overall collection and we have provided 186 days of work for 22 Artisans. In our bid to challenge the circular model, we launched 6 up-cycle initiatives which included utilising waste fabric to develop new products such as bikinis, baby blankets and scrunchies. All electricity for domestic operations was sourced from local, renewable resources. Our roadmap to becoming 100% sustainable by 2025 is ambitious, however we believe we are making good headway and with a strong commitment and industry collaboration, we look forward to reporting more positive results.