NSW Sustainability

NSW Sustainability Awards Winners

Home » Winners of the NSW Sustainability Awards 2022


The Banksia Foundation is excited to announce the outstanding recipients of the 2023 NSW Sustainability Awards. These awards recognise and celebrate the remarkable individuals, organisations, and initiatives that have dedicated themselves to fostering sustainability and driving positive change in our beautiful state of New South Wales.

Thank you to our Award Supporters: NSW Government through the OECC, MCI, UNAA NSW, National Australian Maritime Museum and AV1,

Minister’s Young Climate Champion


Belltrees Public School – “We have undertaken a holistic approach to our environmental initiatives. We focus on the synergy between projects and enhancing the natural environment. Our YCC have been instrumental in identifying, planning and implementing these initiatives through our Youth Environmental Council, which brings together students, staff and community members to review the school’s activities and address issues that have been identified. This process is integrated into our curriculum with students investigating key concepts relating to our initiatives and researching best practice for implementing change. Overall, these changes have built a culture of inquiry, problem-solving and agency in our students, readying them for the challenges in the future. “


Blacktown North Public School – Student Leaders are completing waste and litter audits and surveys at the commencement and end of the Waste Reduction Pilot Program, developing a Waste Reduction Action Plan (WRAP).

Cowra Public School – The “Littie Committee” is made up of eight sustainability-addicted girls with a passion for recycling and saving the planet!

Tarrawanna Public SchoolFeeding our community using our permaculture garden and feeding our native wildlife through food from the Tiny Forest.

NSW Biodiversity Award


Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach, Bush Heritage Australia – “The environmental health of the Murrumbidgee River – Australia’s second longest river – is at risk. 96% percent of its headwater flows are diverted, widespread sediment and weeds from vegetation clearing have caused habitat loss for native fish. Invasive species such as carp are pushing them further towards brink. To lose the health of a river, is to risk losing the plants, animals, and people who depend on it. That’s where the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach (UMDR) comes in. Adopting an evidence-based and community led approach, the UMDR implements on-ground works to improve the recovery of key species and habitats, protect connected areas, increase engagement within communities and stakeholders, and support Traditional Owners’ aspirations and cultural values. Today, the UMDR is one of the largest collaborations working to protect any inland waterway in Australia – enabling people to support the river that supports them by making it more healthy, resilient and sustainable. “


Cooling the Schools Sydney – Connecting kids to nature and empowering them to take action in their communities to create greener, cooler places where people and nature thrive.

Randwick City Council – Enhancing the urban environment through ‘Planting with Us’ and ‘Request a Street Tree’ programs.

NSW Responsible Supply Award


Underwear for Humanity “A ‘Theory of Change’ is a clearly articulated description of the impact you wish to create, and the steps that need to happen to create it. Our ‘Theory of Change’, acts as our north star, helping to guide our decision-making, and get us leaping out of bed each day… in our beautiful undies. If we offer people the opportunity to participate in creating a better and fairer world. By building a social enterprise that prioritises impact in everything that it does, It will lead to a shift in the way people consider where their money goes and the power that they have and ultimately empower them to contribute to and feel more connected to their humanity and world they choose to live in. “


Ventia – Transurban, Ventia, and Muru Mittigar collaborated to enhance Aboriginal employment opportunities on the Hills M2 motorway, while supporting further education.

NSW Circular Economy Award


The Reconnect Project – “An impact-driven charity and social enterprise with the mission to close Australia’s digital divide by distributing refurbished mobile technology to people in need. With a focus on extending the life of existing technology, they accept donations of mobile phones, tablets and laptops in any age or condition. At their retail repair workshop in Sydney’s south, The Reconnect Project is developing Australia’s first accredited Mobile Device Repair Technician training program. Here, neurodivergent young adults learn the technical repair skills required to bring the donated devices back to life, as well as retail operations, customer service and workplace communication skills. Every device is securely erased to ensure data privacy of the donor. The refurbished devices are then distributed to disadvantaged individuals and families via a network of over 100 social service agencies including women’s shelters, refugee support services, homelessness agencies, at-risk youth outreach programs and more. “


Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of CouncilsProcure Recycled: Paving the Way initiative for 15 participating councils is closing the loop by using recycled crushed glass and end-of-life tyres in Sydney-area road making.

NSW Climate Technology Impact Award


SIMPaCT (Smart Irrigation Management for Parks and Cool Towns) – SIMPaCT effectively addresses the issues of rising urban heat and water scarcity by offering a smart solution for water management of green spaces. Over the past two years, university researchers, service providers, technology experts and industry stakeholders have worked together to develop a water-management system that responds to the environmental conditions at Sydney’s Bicentennial Park where it maximises surface and air cooling. The collaborative work merges environmental monitoring with weather forecasts and AI to optimise soil moisture levels across a complex park landscape. Based on thousands of model evaluations every day, SIMPaCT tells the park’s irrigation system when and how much to water. As a result, park visitors and nearby residents and businesses benefit from cooler temperatures while water is saved. Hence, SIMPaCT makes use of cutting-edge technology to increase climate change resilience whilst preserving a precious commodity.


BGIS & Cresstec – REED HVAC-R is a retrofittable, refrigerant management, energy saving, optimisation technology for commercial Heating Ventilation Airconditioning & Refrigerant (HVAC-R) equipment, which utilises deterministic Artificial Intelligence designed to drastically reduce emissions.

Green Eco Technologies – The WasteMaster conversion system gives companies a quick and easy solution to cut down on their carbon footprint while realising significant economic savings on trash disposal.

Wattwatchers Digital Energy – My Energy Marketplace (the ‘MEM’) is a unique resource for securely and ethically sharing 5000+ electricity customer datasets, enabling Australian research and innovation for the clean energy transition.

NSW Communications for Impact Award


Action4Agriculture “The Young Environmental Champions program partners with the SDGs to support young people to investigate the world, recognise perspectives, communicate their ideas, and take action. Delivered into primary and secondary schools, the YEC provides young people with the opportunity to identify a global problem and come up with a solution at a local level. The program teaches our young people key 21st century skills, enabling them to become creative and critical thinkers, confident communicators and collaborators. This equips them for the jobs of today and tomorrow . The program delivers on what teachers want: programs that engage their students and programs that show young people what they are learning at school has real-world impact. The networks schools build through the Young Environmental Champions program illustrate to students that there are meaningful careers in this sector. The connection to community and business leaders shows young people that what matters to them is valued and respected by the “grown-up” world.”


Return and Earn NSW Container Deposit Scheme – Return and Earn is a much loved and trusted NSW recycling initiative, contributing to a growing circular economy.

NSW Large Business Sustainable Leadership Award


Port of Newcastle:Port of Newcastle has consistently demonstrated sustainable leadership within our sector by committing to an ESG and master plan that underpin our sustainability journey. Aligned with the UN SDGs, Port of Newcastle were the first Australian port certified for environmental sustainability by Lloyds through the International EcoPorts Network. We have achieved a remarkable increase in GRESB benchmarking ratings since 2019 with 5-star ratings for the past three years. Our sustainable finance framework integrates sustainability into all operations, fostering accountability through staff incentives. We’re committed to emissions reduction, with an SBTi approved 55% reduction trajectory by 2030 and a net zero 2040 goal. Port of Newcastle’s clean energy precinct aligns with our priority SDGs and will be the catalyst for transformation of the energy landscape in the Hunter region, positioning us as a global clean energy hub. This journey, marked by strategic governance, innovative initiatives, partnerships and SDG alignment, defines our dedicated path to a more sustainable future. “


Opal HealthCare – Transforming aged care for a better future for all.

Teachers Mutual Bank Limited – Using B Corp Certification to reinvent the whole bank to be ‘Banking for Good for those who do good’.

NSW Placemaking Award


Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1, Transport for New South Wales“Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 (PLR) connects Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD with a 12-kilometre, two-way track and 16 fully accessible stops. PLR will connect locals and visitors to major destinations, with regular ‘turn up and go’ services every 7.5 minutes during peak periods. By 2026, around 28,000 people are expected to use the Parramatta Light Rail every day, with an estimated 130,000 people living within walking distance of the light rail stops. Through many innovative measures, PLR has achieved sustainable outcomes for its workers, the community, heritage and the environment. By exceeding employment targets to achieve social outcomes, considering and preserving local heritage in design, consulting with stakeholders and the community to inform decision-making, integrating heritage and Aboriginal cultural interpretation, using a wire-free design in sensitive environments, and providing active transport links to improve health and connectivity, the project continues to demonstrate a true legacy-leaving project.”


SIMPaCT, Western Sydney University – The Smart Irrigation Management for Parks and Cool Towns (SIMPaCT) project is the first fully autonomous city cooling system that turns green spaces into effective urban air conditioning units.

NSW Net Zero Action Award


Rheem Australia Pty Ltd “Fostering A Greater Degree of Good – Rheem is committed to making a difference with the products we create, for the people we serve and through the processes that drive us. From innovating energy-saving products to supporting the trade, our sustainability efforts know no bounds. At Rheem, we believe in going beyond the expected and striving for what’s possible. It’s how we’ve run our business and designed our products since we began in Australia in 1939. We’re committed to leading the way in water heating with intelligent products and sustainable solutions that make a difference for you and the planet. Rheem is committed to carrying out all operations in a sustainable manner, and producing products that contribute to a sustainable future. We have a strong and active environmental improvement program aimed at reducing our carbon footprint, energy use, water use and waste generation.”


Orica – Every day, all around the world, Orica helps sustainably mobilise the earth’s resources.

Penguin Random House ANZ -Shaking up the publishing industry, driving carbon neutrality and sustainable book production.

NSW Primary Industries and Regional Development Award


Oceanfarmr – “Oceanfarmr, the forward-thinking company committed to sustainability, is making a significant impact in the oyster farming industry. It has identified a pressing issue: oyster farmers struggling to secure the financing necessary for expanding their underwater infrastructure. Oceanfarmr has emerged as the beacon of hope for these underbanked farmers. The company’s vision is crystal clear: it aims to cultivate thriving farms, thriving communities, and thriving ecosystems. How is this vision becoming a reality? Thanks to the groundbreaking Oceanfarmr app. This state-of-the-art tool empowers farmers to manage their unique work practices, monitor performance, and ensure compliance. The outcome is remarkable: a staggering 17% increase in productivity, a substantial 50% reduction in time spent on the water, and the capacity to grow their farms by an impressive 20% year on year. “


Dr Amy Moss & Dr Hiep Dao, University of New England – Turning food waste into chicken feed for environmental and economic benefit.

Lorraine Gordon – As the Founder and Director of the national Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Lorraine has shown visionary leadership, enacted meaningful change, and pioneered innovative programs which improve the holistic well-being of farmers and communities.

NSW SME Sustainable Leadership Award


Underwear for Humanity “A ‘Theory of Change’ is a clearly articulated description of the impact you wish to create, and the steps that need to happen to create it. Our ‘Theory of Change’, acts as our north star, helping to guide our decision-making, and get us leaping out of bed each day… in our beautiful undies. If we offer people the opportunity to participate in creating a better and fairer world. By building a social enterprise that prioritises impact in everything that it does, It will lead to a shift in the way people consider where their money goes and the power that they have and ultimately empower them to contribute to and feel more connected to their humanity and world they choose to live in”


Joonga Land and Water Aboriginal Corporation Self-Determination in Action to Heal Sea-Country.

Randwick City Council – Strengthening and expanding community resilience and sustainability through a creative and innovative environmental levy program.

NSW Sustainable Tourism Award


Take 3 for the Sea – “Over 35 million tonnes of solid waste are generated each year by visitors globally, largely in sensitive areas such as parks, waterways and beaches. This has the potential to damage high value natural resources, impact the regional economy and put pressure on waste management facilities during peak times. In 2021, Take 3 for the Sea started the conversation on this issue with NSW Visitor Economy Industry (VEI) businesses/stakeholders, researching, consulting, and workshopping the problem of visitor litter. This paved the way for Ground Swell, a coordinated, whole-of-industry approach to rolling out litter prevention strategies. Ground Swell informs and enables the VEI to take shared responsibility for visitor litter. By raising awareness, forging partnerships and mentoring participants as they develop Action Plans that reduce visitor litter in their areas of operation. Ground Swell aims to educate and empower VEI businesses/stakeholders and in turn, they inspire their visitors to also prevent litter.”


Kestrel Nest EcoHut / Highfield Farm & Woodland – Offering a compelling vision and model for how eco-tourism, farming for biodiversity, reconciliation and habitat conservation can work together for mutual benefit.

Thredbo Resort Kosciuszko Thredbo Pty Ltd operates Thredbo Alpine Resort within Kosciuszko National Park, one of Australia’s most beautiful and sensitive natural settings. Their innovative environmental initiatives cover all aspects of resort operations in order to preserve the unique alpine backyard for future generations.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia – Securing a shared future for wildlife and people.