Ten categories celebrate sustainable development by businesses, communities, governments, institutions and individuals – with a strong theme of waste reduction and closing loops emerging in the finalists’ work.
Thirty-three finalists have been named for the The Banksia Sustainability Awards, Australia’s longest running sustainability awards.
Projects to reduce waste, repurpose goods and close loops are common in the shortlist, along with initiatives to restore natural environments, increase renewable energy and build more resilient communities.
In the small business category, shortlisted efforts include PumpFree Energy, which works with the food service industry to reduce, divert and transform oil and grease waste into biofuels, and eWater Systems’ ‘Hygiene that doesn’t cost the earth’, which replaces high carbon, wasteful chemical production with on-site electrolysis equipment to provide an unlimited supply of biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning, disinfecting and food sanitising solutions.
Medium business category nominees include Breathe Architecture’s Arkadia project, a new wave of large-scale residential developments that are gas-free, completely powered by electricity, allowing for entirely renewable and carbon free energy.
In the large business category, shortlisted efforts include Aldi supermarkets’ commitment to powering its stores and warehouses with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2021 and Ventia’s SourceZone low-emission technology for removing PFAS contamination from soil.
In the Community category is Sustainable Schools Network’s Reimagining Education Project, in which schools educate and connect communities to imagine a sustainable future, and Millennium Kids Inc, the environmental youth organisation that empowers young people with a ‘skills for life’ approach to sustainability.
In the Government category, Queensland Sunshine Coast Council and New South Wales Randwick City Council’s respective programs both aim to transform to more sustainable communities – Sunshine Coast with a focus on diversity and striking a balance between the built and natural environments and Randwick on adopting ambitious targets for energy, greenhouse gas, waste and water reductions.
The not for profit/non-government organisation category’s shortlist includes the Australasian Recycling Label Program, an on-pack labelling scheme that works with brand owners to design packaging that helps consumers recycle correctly.
Finally, the Academia/research category includes the Placemaking Sandbox, under development by Melbourne University in partnership with others around the nation, an ‘online sandbox for placemaking’ allowing people to invest space with meaning and create thriving urban places, and Deakin University’s #BlueCarbonArmy, which educates Australia’s corporate executives in climate change literacy and encourages them to help with coastal wetland research, collect data and develop new markets based on coastal ecosystem services.
The Banksia Sustainability Awards are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which were designed as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
“After what has been an extremely challenging year, we are keen to celebrate those who are striving to make positive change,” says foundation CEO Graz van Egmond. “Our Judges were blown away by the quality of the entries. In spite of COVID-19, change-makers across Australia are innovating and collaborating to do their bit to improve life on the planet.”