ENVIRO Innovation in Sustainability Awards finalists announced

Thursday, 07 June, 2012

The organisers of this year’s ENVIRO Conference and Exhibition have announced the finalists for the ENVIRO Innovation in Sustainability Award - a national competition to find Australia’s most cutting-edge sustainable innovation. The winner will be announced at ENVIRO 2012, which is taking place on 24-26 July in Adelaide.

The projects are being judged on their sustainability, innovation and successful implementation. A total of 14 applications from across Australia were received for this year’s award, and after considerable difficulty, three finalists were selected.

“Australia is very fortunate to have such a large number of individuals and organisations demonstrably capable of taking innovative ideas from inception to ‘on the ground’ implementation for a more sustainable future for all Australians. Well done!” said Dr David Moy, Chair of the judging panel.

The aim of the award is to celebrate individuals, community groups, organisations or businesses that have recently completed a successful, innovative and sustainable project or initiative that has resulted in significant sustainability outcomes. This will be the second time the biennial award will be presented.

A joint venture between the Waste Management Association of Australia and the Australian Water Association, ENVIRO 2012 gathers industry, government and the environmental service sectors to shape policy and progress on sustainable enterprise. This meeting between business and environment features two workshops, five technical tours, over 100 presentations, two networking events and a trade exhibition. Over 2000 people are expected to attend.

Finalists

Northern Rivers Food Links (Clarence Valley Council)

Northern Rivers Food Links (NRFL) is a cooperative venture involving seven local government areas and the local water authority within the Northern Rivers region of NSW. The NRFL project addressed climate change impacts associated with food production, distribution and consumption by reducing the reliance on food sourced outside the region and by increasing more sustainable food production practices.

Clarence Valley Council has taken a regional approach towards innovation and best practice, by taking on the leadership of specific environmental projects working together with the local government, state government agencies and other key stakeholders within the area. The governance and resource-sharing model developed for this project, together with many of the 130 on ground outcomes, are in many ways a first for Australia. Landshare Australia is one such example facilitated by the NRFL project, and now run out nationally.

The project also sought to enhance community resilience to climate change and peak oil impacts by keeping food affordable and accessible, and tapping into local production capabilities.

Project Catalyst (Ogilvy Impact)

Project Catalyst is a pioneering partnership between Reef Catchments, Terrain NRM, NQ Dry Tropics, Coca-Cola Foundation, WWF and Mackay, Whitsunday, Burdekin, Ingham and Tully sugarcane farmers with support from the Australian Government through the Reef Rescue Water Quality Grants program. The project aims to reduce the environmental footprint of sugarcane production on freshwater quality and the Great Barrier Reef, by focusing on applying innovation and best practice farming technologies to improve resource condition and farm production efficiency alongside strong community partnership.

Since its inception in 2009, Project Catalyst has helped sugarcane growers make sustainable and innovative changes to their farming practices to achieve improved water quality outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef. The project’s partnership approach demonstrates that diverse interests can work collaboratively towards overcoming major environmental challenges.

The project has shown that modern technology can simultaneously and significantly improve farm profitability and reduce pollution. The benefits provided to the wider community can be seen in the project’s raising and fostering greater understanding of the real urgency to improve water quality from agricultural practices.

Warrnambool Roof Water Harvesting Project (Wannon Water)

This project is a leading example of water-sensitive urban design. It taps a new water catchment by capturing water that would otherwise be lost in a run-off, supporting the push towards more liveable and sustainable cities. The project will eventually capture rainwater run-off from more than 3000 roofs, the first stage encompassing 254 lots across two Warrnambool estates.

This system is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia. The innovation of the principle and design model lies in the separation of roof water from surface water run-off through a stand-alone roof water pipe network. Water is collected for further treatment without the risk of contamination with surface water run-off.

The Warrnambool Roof Water Harvesting Project benefits the entire community, including the Warrnambool City Council, in areas of maintenance, storm water management, greenhouse emissions and improved water health of surrounding waterways.

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