Green Ribbon Award categories

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The Green Ribbon Award categories change from year to year. This page provides information on the categories for 2016. The categories for 2017 will be listed here when nominations open in early 2017.

Environmental projects 

Protecting our biodiversity

Our indigenous biodiversity plays an important part in maintaining healthy ecosystems which support our agricultural, horticultural, and tourism-based economy. This award recognises practical actions to protect and preserve New Zealand’s unique species and enhance our biodiversity.

Resilience to climate change

This award recognises efforts to make New Zealand more resilient to the economic and physical impacts of climate change. It acknowledges those who have taken active steps to reduce greenhouse gases and/or prepare for climate change.

Minimising our waste

Disposing of waste to landfill is not the most efficient use of our resources. More importantly, we should try to avoid creating waste in the first place. A lot of waste that is thrown away in New Zealand can be reused or recycled. This award recognises achievements in minimising waste through developing and applying programmes, systems, technology, services or products that help to significantly minimise waste.

Caring for our water

By international standards fresh water in New Zealand is both abundant and clean. We generally have plenty of rain which replenishes our streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater. However, protecting the country's freshwater bodies to ensure continued access to quality freshwater resources now and for future generations is a growing challenge. This award recognises efficient water use, actions to improve water quality, and projects that protect and conserve water.

Protecting our coasts and oceans

Being an island nation, the health of our ocean, our land, and our people are inextricably linked. Our ocean has immense value to life and supports a wide diversity of plants, animals and food resources. This award recognises those who have demonstrated innovation and initiative in protecting, restoring or enhancing marine or coastal ecosystems.


Business leadership

This award recognises businesses that take a leadership role in the preservation of natural capital; implementing practical solutions and bold commitments to sustainability to deliver benefits to the bottom line and the environment.

Community leadership

This award recognises volunteer and not-for-profit organisations who have demonstrated commitment and leadership in empowering their community to take action for the environment.

Leadership in communication and education

This award recognises the important role in lifting awareness, improving understanding and bringing about change on environmental issues. It focuses on the future, educating people and projects that will continue to improve the environment.

Kaitiaki leadership

This award recognises outstanding kaitiaki leadership and demonstrated commitment to empowering iw/hapū/whanau to take action to restore or sustain the mauri of te taiao.

Philanthropy and partnership

This award recognises the outcomes or impacts of philanthropy to the environment.

Find out more

If you have any questions about the Green Ribbon Awards please contact the Ministry for the Environment’s Green Ribbon Awards team at

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