3 June, 2010
Green Ribbon Award winners announced
Thirteen organisations from across New Zealand have tonight been honoured at the 20th annual Green Ribbon Awards, for making an outstanding contribution to protecting the environment.
"These awards recognise those who are taking practical action to deal with environmental challenges such as climate change, water quality, biodiversity and waste," Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith said.
"I congratulate all the winners and finalists for going the extra mile to protect and enhance New Zealand's environment."
The award categories this year reflect the Government's environmental priorities and the many different areas in which New Zealanders contribute to reducing impacts on the environment.
The supreme winner was Kaharoa Kokako Trust for its impressive predator control efforts and their significant role in the national kokako recovery programme. Based in the Bay of Plenty, the Trust has increased the number of kokako from 12 pairs when they started in 1997 to an impressive 121 adults in 2006.
The other 2010 winners are:
- Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust for its work with landowners to conserve biodiversity on private land
- Landcare Research for its efforts in reducing greenhouse gas levels through the carboNZero programme
- Waitakere City Council for improving streams and waterways in Auckland through the successful Project Twin Streams
- Envirofert Limited for diverting large quantities of waste from landfill by recycling organic waste into compost
- Sleepyhead Manufacturing Company Limited for its new technology allowing for environmentally-sound manufacturing
- Sustainable Coastlines Incorporated for its projects that help improve coastal environments
- Hukanui Primary School for its eco-classroom - planned, designed and built by the students
- Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Trust (EERST) for increasing recycling rates and environmental awareness in schools
- Splashroom Limited for inspiring action on environmental issues through filmmaking
- The New Zealand Wine Company Limited for making quality wine with minimal environmental impact
- Resene Paints Limited for producing environmentally friendly paint products
- Palmerston North City Council for its successful resource recovery centre
"This country is only as wealthy as the talent of its people. The Green Ribbon Awards are an opportunity for the Government to acknowledge the exceptional contribution New Zealanders are making to ensuring that our environment is looked after," Dr Smith said.
Green Ribbon Awards 2010 - winners and categories
Winner: Kaharoa Kokako Trust
The Kaharoa Kokako Trust was formed in 1997 and operates in the Kaharoa Conservation Area in the Bay of Plenty region. The Trust runs predator control and monitoring programmes to assist in the recovery of kokako. Voluntary manpower enables the Trust to use safe, ground-based pest control methods to keep the numbers of predators down.
Before the Trust began its conservation project, there were just 12 pairs of kokako in the Kaharoa Conservation Area. By 2006, through the Trust's intensive work, numbers had climbed to 121 adult kokako and a large number of juveniles.
The Trust is now an important contributor to the national kokako recovery efforts. Birds from the area are viewed as a source for rebuilding kokako populations elsewhere in New Zealand and two such translocations have already occurred.
The work the Trust has carried out is also improving the health of the forest enormously, as evident in the growing numbers of a wide range of bird species. As a result of the Trust's activities the Kaharoa Conservation Area is now one of the largest and most significant kokako populations in New Zealand.
Protecting our Biodiversity
Winner: Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust
Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust (formed in 2001) is a community-based group that works with landowners to conserve biodiversity on private land. The Trust has 42 registered covenants, totalling 360 hectares. The covenants represent a range of habitats and allow ecosystems to regenerate. These areas have been fenced and the Trust advises owners on management of weeds and pests. The Trust has worked with private land owners, particularly farmers, to protect biodiversity on their land while ensuring the land owner's activities remain economically viable.
In 2009 and 2010, the Trust led the translocation of tui to Banks Peninsula, as tui had largely disappeared from the peninsula in the last 20 years. Seventy-two tui were reintroduced and 14 new fledglings established in the first summer. They will play an important part in regenerating ecosystems through their role as pollinators and seed dispersers.
The project received much local support and funding, and was run in partnership with the Department of Conservation, Lincoln University, Christchurch City Council, the Josef Langer Trust and Ngāi Tahu.
Reducing our Carbon Emissions
Winner: Landcare Research - carboNZero Programme
Landcare Research is New Zealand's foremost environmental research organisation, specialising in sustainable management of land resources, optimising primary production, enhancing biodiversity, increasing the resource efficiency of businesses, and conserving and restoring the natural assets of our communities.
The carboNZero programme run by Landcare Research is a world leading greenhouse gas emissions management and reduction certification scheme. It is the first greenhouse gas certification scheme to be accredited to ISO 14065 and the first certification programme for New Zealand.
The carboNZero programme helps facilitate significant environmental benefits through enabling organisations to measure, manage and mitigate their emissions. Since the launch of the carboNZero programme in 2001, 12 million tonnes of CO2e footprint has been verified and 180,000 tonnes of CO2e has been offset through the programme.
The carboNZero programme is a credible certification scheme that can be used by New Zealand businesses to promote and market their products internationally. Oxford University has identified the carboNZero programme as one of the top three programmes of its type in the world.
Caring for our Water
Winner: Waitakere City Council - Project Twin Streams
Project Twin Streams is New Zealand's largest stormwater mitigation and environmental restoration project. The project has implemented some significant environmental benefits in a catchment area in Waitakere City that covers approximately 10,000 hectares and has a population of 100,000 people.
Local communities are actively engaged to help deliver the restoration of the riparian margins on 56kms of stream bank. Eighteen schools and other various clubs and groups are heavily involved. This year 163,863 trees have been planted by the community and contractors, and 14 community planting days have been held.
Project Twin Streams works continuously to protect our freshwater by raising awareness of the causes of, and solutions to, stream degradation and pollution. The project has demonstrated significant environmental benefits to local streams and the downstream environments around Auckland harbours. The project is a proactive, creative response to an environmental imperative and it has managed to empower widespread community participation and support to achieve a model outcome.
Managing our Waste
Winner: Envirofert Limited
Envirofert operates one of the largest composting sites in New Zealand (covering 100 acres of consented land). It has been collecting green waste from throughout the Auckland region for more than 10 years and has recently developed a processing system for food waste from manufacturers, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and festivals.
Envirofert use an air assisted thermophilic composting process and, with the finishing touch from worms, turns the organic waste into compost which is highly valued by the horticulture, agriculture and pastoral farming sectors. Recycling food and green (organic) waste into compost not only diverts waste from landfill, but it also contributes to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Envirofert also has a 40 acre cleanfill which can take inert material not subject to biological breakdown and has pioneered a process whereby waste plasterboard is re-processed and used as a soil conditioner. Approximately 20,000 tonnes of waste plasterboard goes into Auckland landfills annually and this process has diverted a significant proportion of this.
Envirofert has recently developed a process to recycle bentonite, a highly impermeable clay used in the construction industry and is also conducting trials to evaluate composting plastic and paper packaging. Envirofert displays innovation in tackling difficult, large scale waste streams and works closely with territorial authorities and industry to develop new solutions.
Improving our Air Quality
Winner: Sleepyhead Manufacturing Company Limited
Sleepyhead is a 100% New Zealand-owned manufacturer of bedding products, employing more than 1000 people. The Sleepyhead plant in Auckland has recently installed new machinery to manufacture flexible foams using high pressure carbon dioxide technology. The use of CO2 technology eliminates the need to use methylene chloride, a suspected human carcinogen, in the foam-making process. This technique also reduces the amount of toluene diisocyanate (TDI), another carcinogen, used in the process. In addition to lower levels of TDI used in producing flexible foam the exhaust gases are past through a carbon filter that removes 99.5% of the TDI vapour.
The benefit of the new technology is improved air quality at the plant, creating a healthier and safer environment for their staff. The finished product is also safer for consumers because potentially harmful chemical residues are removed. Sleepyhead is the first manufacturer to introduce this new technology, and by doing so they are taking a proactive stance on environmentally-sound manufacturing. Sleepyhead's Australian plant is now following New Zealand's lead and installing this technology.
Protecting our Coasts and Oceans
Winner: Sustainable Coastlines Incorporated
Sustainable Coastlines is run by young people whose mission is to sustain and protect our coastlines through practical educational activities. Sustainable Coastlines focuses on the marine debris challenges that face New Zealand and the world, providing ideas, coordination and support to communities to carry out local projects that will improve their coastal environment.
Sustainable Coastlines runs events at grass-roots level, entirely on a volunteer basis. Huge numbers of people have been involved (estimate of around 6,000 people) in a string of highly successful coastal cleanup events, removing over 75 tonnes of waste from coastlines. Sustainable Coastlines also audits the waste, contributing significant new information about the composition of marine debris and flow from metropolitan areas.
Sustainable Coastlines has worked hard to educate the public about the environmental, social and economic consequences of marine debris. The sheer scale of their events has raised awareness about coastline protection exponentially in communities and they plan to enhance this by producing educational resources from their results. By motivating people towards positive action, the group aims to make sustaining and protecting our coastlines an enjoyable activity for everyone.
Community Action for the Environment: Young People
Winner: Hukanui Primary School - Eco-classroom
The Student Working Party of Hukanui Primary School in Hamilton has designed, funded and built an eco-classroom it calls ‘The Living Room'. The project idea was conceived and driven by students, with more than 180 children involved in every aspect of the project.
The Living Room was developed as an ecologically-sound building and has also created a working laboratory for the students. A water tank that captures the majority of the rainwater from the roof will supply the garden and a high efficiency wood burner enfolded in earth walls will supplement the passive warmth of a thick floor slab. Below the floor slab are three different forms of thermal insulation (polystyrene, recycled glass and volcanic pumice) so the students can monitor the effectiveness of these different insulation materials.
The Living Room started as a small idea that developed into a significant education project. By "owning" the project and being involved at every stage students gained valuable skills, not only in sustainable building and resource efficiency, but also more broadly in research, communication, decision-making and critical thinking.
Community Action for the Environment: Volunteers and Not-for-Profit organisations
Winner: Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Trust (EERST) Paper4trees Programme
Paper4trees is a successful, innovative programme that has dramatically increased recycling rates and environmental awareness in schools - and it continues to grow. The programme, run by Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Trust (EERST) is now embedded in more than 1600 New Zealand educational institutions - that's almost 65% of the nation's schools.
Paper4trees rewards schools' recycling efforts with gifts of native trees. The more they recycle, the more plants they receive. On average, 70% of a school's waste is paper and cardboard. Since the programme's inception 10 years ago, participating Paper4trees schools have diverted more than 5700 tonnes of paper from landfill and planted more than 21,500 trees.
The potential for growth is enormous, particularly in early childhood centres. What's more, EERST is committed to continuing and expanding its work in schools with spin-off initiatives like Water4schools (rain water harvesting) and Energy4schools (energy reduction).
Environment in the Media
Winner: Splashroom Limited
Splashroom Limited was founded in 2008 by a group of Masters students from Otago University's Science Communication (filmmaking) degree. Now operating full time out of Otago's Centre for Innovation, Splashroom has a vision to become New Zealand's leading producer of films to help solve social and environmental challenges.
By producing solution-focused short films that harness the power of story, and then sharing these films in new and innovative ways, Splashroom is helping transform awareness into action. Splashroom have produced a number of award-winning short films since 2008, and have gone to great lengths to make their films widely available, including distribution to schools, and a nationwide road trip in early 2010.
Splashroom have demonstrated an impressive ability to produce high quality films on a limited budget, going beyond the boundaries of simply raising awareness, to inspiring action that benefits communities and the environment. Plans to offer internships to university students will help support a new generation of filmmakers and Splashroom's capacity to make powerful films that reach a broader audience.
Small Businesses Making a Difference
Winner: The New Zealand Wine Company Limited
The New Zealand Wine Company is located in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough and makes wine under the brands Grove Mill, Sanctuary and Frog Haven.
The Company is committed to making quality wine with minimal environmental impact. Their first step towards achieving this was to become the first carbon-neutral certified-winery in the world, which it achieved in September 2006. They have continued to address environmental impacts and their carbon footprint year after year, continuously having achieved carboNZero certification.
Projects it has undertaken to reduce its carbon footprint include building a new cold store to reduce the need for artificial cooling, insulating their buildings to prevent heat and cold loss, establishing a water recycling and irrigation system, installing frost fans to reduce the environmental impacts of frost prevention and the development of their own fertiliser through composting.
The New Zealand Wine Company has also completed an excellent wetland restoration project which has led to the use of the Southern Bell Frog as their logo.
Environmentally Responsible Large Organisations
Winner: Resene Paints Limited
Resene is a manufacturer of quality paints, colours, coatings and wood stains for exterior and interior house painting in addition to commercial and industrial painting applications. Resene is well known for leading the development of environmentally sustainable surface coatings, from the basic innovation of Resene waterborne paints, to the removal of lead from decorative paints in the late 1960s, and has continued its pioneering role into manufacturing 'green' paint with the launch of New Zealand's first comprehensive range of Environmental Choice approved paints in 1996.
In recent years Resene has introduced a number of initiatives to achieve waste minimisation and reduce their environmental impact including Resene PaintWise, WashWise and the Resene Eco Decorator programme. Resene has set the standard for the paint industry by addressing the cradle-to-grave issues through product stewardship and demonstrate true leadership as they continue to trial new and innovative ways of reducing their impact on the environment.
The initiatives within the company go beyond managing the environmental impact of their paint; they also involve the wider production processes, sales, engagement with staff at all levels, packaging, promotional programmes and transportation.
Public Sector Stepping Up
Winner: Palmerston North City Council - Awapuni Sustainable Development Centre
Palmerston North City Council runs the Awapuni Sustainable Development Centre, a former landfill site, now a resource recovery centre. Since opening in February 2007, the centre has shifted the focus of the Council from waste management to waste minimisation and resource efficiency. This has resulted in an increase in the diversion of tyres, scrap metal, green waste, wood waste, food waste, and liquid organics from landfill. Future plans for the centre include the addition of an e-waste/battery recycling and hazardous chemicals drop-off site and the further development of processing and composting facilities for organic waste.
The centre is achieving high diversion and recycling rates and has a key target of diverting 75% of waste from landfill by 2015. The centre is currently collecting and processing approximately 6000 tonnes of recycling annually covering all the major waste streams. Between 2007 and 2010, 3000 tonnes of recovered glass has been used in roading and construction projects.
Palmerston North City Council has ensured that awareness-raising and education about waste minimisation is achieved through the centre's visitor facilities. Thousands of people attend the tours and seminars at the site each year.