This year’s Premier’s Sustainability Awards showcased projects across a diverse range of categories, from e-waste recycling to food waste and repurposed asphalt material.
Hosted by actor Stephen Curry and presented by Victorian Government Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the awards recognise individuals, organisations and businesses working to create a more sustainable Victoria.
Ms D’Ambrosio said the nominees illustrated how industry and government could work together to position Victoria as a state of the future.
“These projects and initiatives are brought together by very important frameworks — frameworks that really set the direction and demonstrate what we want to be as Victorians, where we want to go and how we want to get there,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“We should all rejoice in making our state sustainable and much of that is brought about by the people in this room — tonight you should celebrate and acknowledge this achievement,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
In a video message, Premier Daniel Andrews congratulated and thanked all the finalises for their hard work helping achieve sustainability across diverse sectors.
Melbourne company Enable Social Enterprises won the top honour of the night, the Premier’s Recognition Award, for their work employing disadvantaged people in a successful e-waste business.
Enable works to break unemployment cycles by helping jobseekers connect with community and environment via commercial ventures including Enable IT Recycling, an online shop, fulfilment and storage services.
In 2018, Enable’s IT Recycling business created 10 employment pathways, while diverting 133,046 kilograms of e-waste from landfill.
Enable Founder and Managing Director Julie Mackay said the award was an incredible acknowledgment for a small enterprise out of Broadmeadows, and congratulated the Victorian Government on their recent e-waste to landfill ban.
“Hats off to the Victorian Government for banning e-waste from landfill, it has had a significant and immediate impact on our enterprise — to say we’re getting pummelled is an understatement,” Ms Mackay said.
“We’re all here as a growing sector and tonight is an example of that — let’s not underestimate the massive potential and leadership that we can all play in supporting jobs for the future. From everyone at Enable, I promise you that we will lead that fight and hope you will join us.”
Enable also took out the Innovative Products and Services award.
In the Health Category, Melbourne Health was recognised for its Reducing Hunger and Food Waste in Our Community program.
Melbourne Health, through a partnership with OzHarvest, collect surplus patients meals for processing and redistribution.
Since February 2018, over 4000 meals have been redistributed each month, removing nine tonnes of food from landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 tonnes.
In the Large Business category, Downer was awarded for its recycled asphalt product Reconophalt, which incorporates non-traditional repurposed materials such as soft plastics, glass, toner and reclaimed road.
Downer General Manager Strategic Development Michael Jackson said Downer is on a journey to change the way society deals with waste.
“We have invested significantly in our research and development, and over a long period of time, we’ve been able to bring game changing and market leading products to light such as Reconophalt, which even after it has been laid on the road, is perpetually recyclable, providing a truly circular solution,” Mr Jackson said.
“It takes courage to make change, and we’re starting to see this courage across all levels of government, to this end, the Hume City Council needs to be called out and applauded for their first use of Reconophalt on their road network”
Sustainability Victoria interim Chief Executive Carl Muller said the awards showed that environmental management was a growing concern for all Victorians.
“Each year, the Premier’s Sustainability Awards continue to discover the best and most inspiring Victorian individuals, organisations and businesses who are developing and implementing new sustainable practices,” Mr Muller said.
“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. Your contributions will have positive long-term benefits for all.”
The 2019 Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards winner are:
Gillies Hall by Monash University: Monash University’s new Gillies Hall is a six level, 150-bed residential accommodation complex, the first large scale building in Australia to achieve Passive House certification.
Hepburn Z-NET by Renew: Partnering with Renew, the Hepburn Shire has a bold plan to be the first zero-net energy shire in Australia and to reach zero-net emissions in 10 years.
Sustainability across VCAL Curriculum by River Nile School: The River Nile School offers programs delivering the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning curriculum to re-engage refugee and asylum seeker school-aged women, embedding the topic of sustainability.
Working Beyond the Boundaries by AMES Australia and Parks Victoria: Migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia partners with Parks Victoria to regenerate an historic garden, providing work opportunities, social, physical and mental health benefits to refugee and other local communities.
Greening the West One Million Trees Project: Greening the West is a massive collaboration that aims to deliver positive health, social and liveability outcomes in Melbourne’s west by a project to plant one million trees.
Electrifying Industry by Electrifying Industry Volunteer Working Group: Electrifying Industry is a report by Beyond Zero Emissions’ expert volunteers – a world’s first that shows how to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing.
Victorian Renewable Energy Target Reverse Auction by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning: Victoria’s first renewable energy auction is supporting the development of more than 900 megawatts of new clean energy and will ensure that 25 per cent of our electricity generation comes from renewable sources by 2020, 40 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030.
Reducing hunger and food waste in our community by Melbourne Health: Melbourne Health’s surplus patient meals are collected and delivered to community food hub, Northpoint Centre, helping people in need and mitigating food waste.
Innovative Products or Services
Enable IT Recycling by Enable Social Enterprises Limited: An innovative social enterprise integrates environmental, social and economic impact, creating employment opportunities and positive customer results through an e-waste recycling business.
Reconophalt by Downer: This project has created an asphalt pavement material that incorporates non-traditional repurposed materials to reduce environmental impact without compromising product performance and is perpetually recyclable.
Small and Medium Enterprises
E.S.P. Wool Production by BP, SS, JP & N Finnigan Kia Ora: E.S.P. or Ethical, Sustainable, Profitable wool production is now a feature of this family farm and features practices such as reducing chemical use, changing the genetic selection of sheep and sowing permanent pastures.
Premier’s Regional Recognition Award: E.S.P. Wool Production by BP, SS, JP & N Finnigan Kia Ora
Premier’s Recognition Award: Enable IT Recycling by Enable Social Enterprises Limited