Press Release

Friday, 5 April 2024

The Social Outfit wins coveted Gold National Banksia Sustainability Award

An initiative helping migrant and refugee women kick-start their Australian careers in fashion while also reducing textile waste has taken out this year’s Gold National Banksia Sustainability Award.

The 35th National Banksia Sustainability Awards celebrates trailblazers in environmental and social sustainability, with winners across 14 categories announced at a gala event in Melbourne on Thursday, 4 April.

The Social Outfit was also awarded the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award sponsored by L’Oréal, winners of the 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award.

Banksia Foundation CEO Graz van Egmond said this was the first year a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award winner had taken out the coveted Gold Banksia.

“It’s an important milestone for our awards. We often think about sustainability through a purely environmental lens, but social sustainability is also critical,” Ms van Egmond said.

“The Social Outfit’s work delivers both environmentally and social sustainability, and our judges couldn’t look past it.”

Judges noted the ‘tangible impacts’ of The Social Outfit’s work across a range of Sustainable Development Goals, suggesting they serve as a model for other organisations to create broad social and sector impact.

Ms van Egmond said two other finalists from the apparel and textiles sector were also recognised on the night for their social impact, with Bared Footwear and Underwear for Humanity singled out as award winners. “These results show the great work underway in an often-maligned sector.”

Finalists from the travel, agriculture, infrastructure, banking, conservation and emergency services sectors were also announced as winners, including the Reconnect Project, a social enterprise closing Australia’s digital divide and training a new generation of repairers – winner of the Circular Economy Award.

Other winners included:

  • A sustainability model reducing the carbon emissions of the ACT’s emergency services
  • A campaign putting a stop to commercial gill net fishing in the Great Barrier Reef
  • A collaborative management partnership improving the health of Victoria’s water catchments and their biodiversity

“It’s fantastic to see so many organisations – both big and small – from across the Australian economy be recognised as true champions of sustainability and social impact” said Ms van Egmond.

“Banksia is delighted to recognise the positive environmental and social impacts of this year’s  winners and finalists, and we urge them to make further progress towards sustainable development.”

A full list of the winners is available to view below and on the Banksia Foundation website.

For media inquiries, please contact Graz van Egmond on +61 419 101 148