2023 NSW Sustainability Awards Winners Announced

Banksia Foundation

Exemplifying the spirit of sustainability and showcasing the transformative power of collective action

Sydney, 7 December 2023 (Australian National Maritime Museum)

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. The NSW Sustainability Awards reflects the diversity of sustainability across 12 key areas, including Minister Sharpe’s Young Climate Champion.

This year’s winners have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to sustainable practices, innovative solutions, and a profound understanding of the importance of preserving our environment and communities. Each award recipient exemplifies the spirit of sustainability and showcases the transformative power of collective action.

These winners represent a diverse array of sustainability efforts, from environmental conservation to social inclusion and innovation in various sectors. Their achievements serve as an inspiration for all of us, reminding us of the incredible impact we can achieve when we work together toward a common goal.

Banksia would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the judges for their diligent evaluation and selection of the winners. Their expertise and dedication to the cause of sustainability have ensured that these awards continue to reflect the highest standards of excellence.

Banksia would like to recognise the broader NSW industry and community for their participation in these awards, as well as the Office of Energy & Climate Change for their invaluable Support and commitment to New South Wales’ sustainability future.

“The 2023 NSW Sustainability Award winners are not just leaders in their respective fields; they are the torchbearers of a sustainable and resilient future for New South Wales. I encourage everyone to learn more about their remarkable work and draw inspiration from their achievements”, stated Graz van Egmond, CEO of the Banksia Foundation.

“As we face global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and social inequity, these awards demonstrate that we have the knowledge, innovation, and

determination to overcome these obstacles. Together, we can build a brighter and more sustainable future for our New South Wales”.

Congratulations once again to all the winners of the 2023 NSW Sustainability Awards. Your dedication and hard work are making a real difference, and Banksia is confident that your efforts will inspire countless others to join our journey towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Sustainable Tourism Award – Winner – Take 3 for the Sea

2023 NSW Sustainability Award Winners

Biodiversity Award – Winner – Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach

The Biodiversity Award was presented to the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach. This winning initiative showcases its collaborative essence, uniting partners like Bush Heritage Australia, Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch, Australian River Restoration Centre, University of Canberra, ACT Government, NSW Government, and the Murray- Darling Basin Authority.

The project symbolises community unity, fostering a sustainable Murrumbidgee River. Judges lauded its broad impact, longevity, and alignment with Sustainable Development Goals. Recognised for its long-term planning, strong partnerships, and engagement with traditional ownership, it is a testament to dedication to both the environment and community.

Circular Economy Award – Winner- The Reconnect Project

The Reconnect Project as its distinguished winner. This ground-breaking initiative is actively bridging Australia’s digital divide while simultaneously nurturing a new generation of skilled repairers.

Judges hailed The Reconnect Project for its holistic strategy, forging connections for those previously without phone access. The project’s educational program significantly reduces e-waste and has been an inspiring example of resilience and adaptability, notably thriving through the trials of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Climate Technology Impact Award – Winner – SIMPaCT: Smart Irrigation Management for Parks and Cool Towns

SIMPaCT (Smart Irrigation Management for Parks and Cool Towns) is a pioneering initiative that marks a significant leap in sustainability, introducing the world’s first fully autonomous urban cooling system that transforms green spaces into efficient urban air conditioning units.

Judges praised the project’s innovation, versatility, and community involvement in tackling pressing challenges like the heat island effect, smart technology utilisation, and water conservation. The project’s remarkable impact on urban cooling, collaborative stakeholder engagement, and universally applicable approach were also hailed.

Communications for Impact Award – Winner – Action4Agriculture

Action4Agriculture’s Young Environmental Champions program is an exceptional initiative, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), empowers young individuals to explore the world, appreciate diverse perspectives, articulate their ideas, and drive meaningful action.

Judges commended the program’s profound focus on behavioural transformation, highlighting its unique emphasis on cross-generational collaboration that nurtures entrepreneurial spirit. The hands-on nature of the project, featuring in-depth panels and presentations, underscores its commitment to instigate profound change and inspire even adults to embrace the SDGs.

Large Business Sustainable Leadership Award – Winner – Port of Newcastle

Port of Newcastle was the outstanding recipient of this Award. This remarkable achievement marks the Port of Newcastle as the first Australian port to attain environmental sustainability certification through the esteemed International EcoPorts Network.

The judges applauded the Port of Newcastle’s commitment to driving progress within challenging sectors. They recognised the project’s international EcoPorts recognition and its unwavering dedication to sustainability, energy efficiency, and ambitious targets. Furthermore, they praised the port’s significant role in the regional economy and commended its robust partnerships, encouraging the take up of sustainable practices with tenants, suppliers, the community, and external stakeholders.

Minister’s Young Climate Champion – Winner – Belltrees Public School

Belltrees Public School’s remarkable journey has seen it transform from one of the smallest schools in NSW into the epitome of environmental education and sustainability in Australia.

The judges praised the school’s insight-driven approach, emphasising their holistic perspective and unwavering dedication. They commended the school for aligning its initiatives with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlighted the active role of students in guiding these initiatives. The school was celebrated for pioneering intersectionality and acting as a “Propagator ” of scalable ideas.

Net Zero Action Award – Winner – Rheem Australia Pty Ltd

Rheem’s unwavering commitment to making a positive impact with their products, for their valued customers, and through their operational processes has set a remarkable example.

The judges were particularly impressed by Rheem’s data-driven approach, which comprehensively assessed impacts across all their offices, tailoring solutions to meet each site’s unique needs. They applauded the company’s enthusiastic pursuit of net-zero requirements across its business and its holistic consideration of sustainability, from design to execution.

Placemaking Award – Winner – Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1

Transport for NSW has delivered a truly customer-focused, sustainable public transport solution with this project, enhancing connectivity, mobility, and prosperity in Western Sydney.

The judges commended the project’s robust engineering work, its effective resolution of maintenance challenges, and the valuable knowledge transfer to other regions. They also praised the high level of engagement and the innovative “green tracks” initiative, which has achieved well-defined results and outcomes.

Primary Industries and Regional Development Award – Winner – Oceanfarmr

Oceanfarmr’s mission, “Growing farms that change the world,” is a testament to their innovative approach.

The judges applauded the project’s collaborative design process with the industry and their commitment to driving improvement. They also highlighted the financial model that enables scalable operations and data capture, emphasising the significant potential for further expansion. Furthermore, the project’s impact on environmental improvement, particularly in terms of waterways and carbon storage, was appreciated by the judges.

Responsible Supply Award – Winner – Underwear for Humanity

Underwear for Humanity is pioneering a radical new approach to conscious consumption, putting the planet and people first.

The judges were deeply impressed by how this business started from scratch and has grown significantly, with a remarkable impact, particularly in empowering women. Winning this award opens new doors for Underwear for Humanity, enabling them to make an even more substantial difference.

SME Sustainable Leadership Award – Winner – Underwear for Humanity

Underwear for Humanity has introduced a ground-breaking approach to conscious consumption, prioritising both the planet and people and adapting a sustainable approach to how they do business.

The judges were highly impressed by this organisation’s ability to overcome challenges and develop a deeply passionate and innovative venture. Underwear for Humanity’s commitment to its mission, guided by strong moral principles and unwavering dedication, embodies the essence of sustainability.

Sustainable Tourism Award – Winner – Take 3 for the Sea

Take 3 for the Sea pioneering project, Ground Swell, represents a coordinated, comprehensive approach to litter prevention strategies within the NSW visitor economy industry.

The judges commended Ground Swell for its remarkable ambition, vision, and unwavering effort in pioneering this initiative. It’s a testament to the power of strategic planning and collaboration across diverse stakeholders. While acknowledging the challenges, this project showcases remarkable scalability potential on a global scale.

About the Banksia Foundation

The Banksia Foundation is one of Australia’s most respected sustainability organisations. For over three decades, the foundation has been dedicated to recognising, promoting, and celebrating sustainability achievements across all sectors of society. Through prestigious awards programs, knowledge-sharing initiatives, and advocacy efforts, the Banksia Foundation plays a pivotal role in driving positive change and inspiring sustainable practices in Australia.


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