2015 Green Ribbon Award finalists

The finalists of the 2015 Green Ribbon Awards are listed below.

Philanthropy and partnership

Project Crimson Trust and Mazda Foundation – Treemendous

The Treemendous school makeovers programme brings a community together to plant a new native garden at a school. The garden facilitates long-term environmental education and usually consists of an outdoor classroom area, habitats for native fauna, and up to 2500 plants.

School children submit proposals for their makeover, four of which are chosen each year – since 2008, 27 schools have received makeovers. The Mazda Foundation contributes $10,000 to each winning school and local businesses are also approached for support. On planting day, Project Crimson and Mazda staff join with the school community to install the garden.

An educational programme headed by Ruud Kleinpaste accompanies the makeover.

Find out more about Treemendous [Project Crimson website and Mazda Foundation website]


Project Janszoon

Project Janszoon in Abel Tasman National Park is the first, and as yet only, ecological restoration project to sign a Tomorrow Accord with the Government. The accord commits the Government to securing the gains achieved by this 30-year philanthropic project into the future.

The project works in close collaboration with the Department of Conservation, The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, and the community. Phase one seeks to secure the park’s ecology with large scale pest and weed control. Phase two involves the return of species such as kaka, robin, tuatara, pāteke, rata and mistletoe. The third key element is future proofing through education and community engagement.

A smartphone app and school programme help connect young people with the park. The project also supports research into new predator control methods.

Find out more about Project Janszoon [Project Janszoon website]


Leadership in communication and education

Auckland Council – Zero Waste Experience Hub

The new Zero Waste Experience Hub at the Waitakere Transfer Station comprises an interactive experience trail, make-space workshop, and renovated classroom. It is a new facility for the more than 5000 annual visitors to the station from schools, community groups, and businesses.

Visitors learn about waste minimisation and organic waste systems and tour the transfer station, seeing first hand where their rubbish and recycling goes. They also spend time in the workshop – children from Swanson School made sculptures, games and musical instruments for their school grounds.

The hub itself was built and fitted out from second-hand transfer station materials. Roof water is used for the hub’s gardens, which raises awareness about water conservation.

Find out more about Auckland Council’s waste management and minimisation [Auckland Council website]


Fiordland Conservation Trust – Kids Restore the Kepler

More than 450 children in the Te Anau area are part of the Kids Restore the Kepler project, which teaches conservation by involving them in a local restoration initiative. Financial support comes from the project’s principal sponsor Kids Restore New Zealand and the Department of Conservation provide funding, resources, and technical support.   

The children are involved in every aspect of the project, including building stoat traps, gaining sponsorship from local businesses for bait, and checking trap lines. They have also set up cat cameras and analysed the footage, counted bird calls, and collected seeds from seedfall trays. 

Involving the wider community happens naturally as children share their enthusiasm with family members. Project participants have also presented their work to visitors, funders and the media.

Find out more about the Fiordland Conservation Trust [Fiordland Conservation Trust website]


Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust – Eye on Nature Children's Environmental Event

Held annually in the Auckland Botanic Gardens, Eye on Nature is a free hands-on environmental education programme for year five and six school students from South Auckland. Students attend over three days then invite family and friends to celebrate their work on the final day, which attracted 8000 people in 2015.

The Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust coordinates the event with support from more than 25 organisations and hundreds of volunteers. The Auckland Botanic Gardens, a key partner, contributes sponsorship funding along with the six southern local boards of Auckland Council. 

Through games and activities, children learn about many topics including edible plants, moths, bees, worm farms, and kauri dieback disease. They also participate in native art, wearable art, and cooking competitions.

Find out more about the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust [Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust website]


Community leadership

Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust

Under contract from Auckland Council, Kiwi Rail, and other businesses, the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust removes graffiti 24 hours a day and cleans up rubbish in South Auckland. However, surpluses, sponsorship and a group of 500 volunteers enable the trust to run many other environmental and educational programmes and events.

In a year, the trust delivered a graffiti education programme to nearly 2000 school children, completed seven major community murals, cleared 110,000 square metres of weeds, planted 772 native shrubs, and ran 14 community assisted town centre clean ups. It also provides marae recycling programmes and sponsored postgraduate environmental internships.

Find out more about the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust [Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust website]


Project De-Vine

The control of invasive vine weeds (especially banana passionfruit and old man’s beard) on a landscape scale in eastern Golden Bay is the focus of Project De-Vine. These weeds threaten new riparian plantings, lowland forest, and regenerating bush.

Previous efforts had been unable to contain the weeds, so the team decided to target the problematic infestations on difficult terrain first and include every landowner. Now 307 private landowners have joined the project, who agree to continue work after De-Vine has carried out an initial weed clearance. 135,000 pest vines have been poisoned manually.

Funding is from many sources and De-Vine has formed coalitions with Project Janszoon, to work along Abel Tasman National Park boundaries, and Fonterra. De-Vine is currently assessing and offering subsidised vine control on Fonterra supply farms. This ensures successful riparian planting, which StreamCare, Project De-Vine’s sister group provides.

Find out more about Project De-Vine [Project De-Vine facebook page]


Project Rerewhakaaitu

Lake Rerewhakaaitu, the southernmost of 12 Rotorua lakes, is surrounded by dairy farms. In 2002, the local farmers began Project Rerewhakaaitu to research nutrient movement in the catchment and put practical measures in place to improve the lake’s water quality.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council challenged the community to write a catchment management plan for the lake, which was prepared cooperatively and completed in October 2013. Farmers have until June 2015 to complete their agreed mitigations.

This process enabled the farmers to develop confidence that the sustained changes they are making will reduce nutrient leaching and improve the health of the lake.

Find about more about Project Rerewhakaaitu [Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme website]


Business leadership

Junk Run Limited

Junk Run offers an alternative to skip bins. Collectors use a truck to pick up unwanted material and are able to sort and salvage goods that can be recycled, repaired, reused or repurposed immediately. Their daily travel routes are carefully planned to reduce carbon emissions.

This small Auckland business is committed to a goal of diverting 90 per cent of the goods it collects from landfill – it already achieves greater than 70 per cent.

The Selwyn Foundation chose Junk Run as the best partner to help clean out basement and storage areas of a retirement village, while ensuring its sustainability goals were met. In three days, 223 cubic metres of ‘rubbish’ was collected and only 36 cubic metres was sent to landfill.

Find out more about Junk Run [Junk Run website]


Malcolm Rands – ecostore

Malcolm Rands founded ecostore to manufacture body and baby care products and household cleaners in 1993. Now with an annual turnover of $42 million, the company has achieved Enviro-Mark Diamond and carboNZero certifications and exports to Australia, the United States, and seven countries in Asia.

ecostore recently switched to using a new high-density polyethylene made from sugarcane-derived ethanol rather than petrochemicals, to manufacture its recyclable plastic bottles.

Rands also funds the not-for-profit Fairground Foundation, which in partnership with Vector installed 48 solar panels on the roof of ecostore’s building in Auckland. The generation system is designed to meet the building's entire electricity requirements and to make it easy for other businesses to copy.

Find out more about the ecostore [ecostore website]


Public sector leadership

Auckland Council – Zero Waste Experience Hub

Eliminating the one million tonnes of waste sent to landfill in Auckland annually is the aspirational goal for Auckland Council’s Zero Waste programme.

The Zero Waste Experience Hub at Waitakere Transfer Station is itself created largely from waste materials and inspires visitors to see the value in unwanted goods. Around 200 golf clubs make up the deck balustrading, a bus shelter has been turned into a gear shed, and 15 pallets were upcycled for compost bins and outdoor furniture.

The hub provides new facilities for the popular waste minimisation education programme based at the station. It is also an example for other recycling centres and transfer stations nationwide.

Find out more about Auckland Council’s waste management and minimisation [Auckland Council website]


Waikato Regional Council – Sustainable Procurement

Waikato Regional Council introduced a requirement for sustainability from its 1400 suppliers in 2013, which to date, has been applied to 70 tenders. Contracts valued at more than $50,000 have a sustainability weighting of 10–15 per cent, while smaller contracts have an appropriate weighting applied.

A two-year communication and education programme ensured suppliers were well informed about the change. At least 15 suppliers are now applying for environmental accreditation and 30 took part in a subsidised ECOSMART programme. These suppliers have reported average savings of $25,000 in waste, fuel and energy costs.

Waikato is the first regional council to use a sustainability weighting throughout its supply chains. A sustainability survey carried out in 2013 has given it a benchmark against which to measure the progress its suppliers are making toward sustainability.

Find out more about the Waikato Regional Council’s sustainable procurement [Waikato Regional Council website]


Waikato Regional Council – Tui Mine Remediation Project

Tui Mine on the slopes of Mount Te Aroha was abandoned in 1973 after extracting copper, lead and zinc sulphides. Once considered to be New Zealand’s most contaminated site, it leached heavy metals into two streams. There was also a risk that the tailings dam would collapse in an extreme weather event or earthquake, sending up to 90,000 cubic metres of mine waste toward Te Aroha.

The $21.7 million remediation project, funded largely by the Government, was led by Waikato Regional Council in collaboration with other agencies. Iwi were involved to ensure the work would restore the mountain physically, spiritually and culturally.

Technically challenging and taking about 160,000 man-hours, remediation works were successfully completed in 2013. Last year the site was handed back to the Department of Conservation and Matamata-Piako District Council.

Find out more about the Tui mine remediation project [Waikato Regional Council website]


Protecting our biodiversity

Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group

Canterbury’s braided rivers are home to many rare and threatened bird species, including wrybill, black-fronted tern and black-billed gull. The Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group raises public awareness, traps predators, and monitors and protects birds and their habitat on the Ashley River during the breeding season. 

Annual surveys show that bird populations on the managed portion of the river are holding their own, compared with declining numbers in other Canterbury rivers. Some species are showing encouraging signs of population recovery.

The group’s scientific approach to data collection and analysis has set a high standard for what can be achieved by community conservation groups elsewhere in New Zealand and worldwide.

Find out more about the Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group [Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group website]


Kaipupu Point Mainland Island Society Incorporated

Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary, a fenced peninsula beside Picton, is testament to what can be achieved by a committed group of local people in 10 years. The pest-free sanctuary is a short boat ride from the Picton foreshore and is now preparing for its first species reintroduction.

The Kaipupu Point Mainland Island Society’s aim is to address the loss of native biodiversity and reconnect locals with the natural environment. It has established a project hub on the town’s main street to provide information about the sanctuary, which also shows visitors what they can do on their own properties to provide habitat for native species.

Web-based software is used innovatively by the group to manage memberships and sponsors, roster monitoring and trapping tasks, and record pest management results.

Find out more about the Kaipupu Point Mainland Island Society [Department of Conservation website]


Project Crimson Trust

Now 25 years old, the Project Crimson Trust was established by New Zealand Forest Products to protect and restore pohutukawa (and later rata) trees and their ecosystems. Since 1990, the trust has planted 330,000 native trees and helped secure the future of these iconic species. 

Project Crimson is a collaboration between business, science, government and the community. It educates young people about the trees and the value of biodiversity, supports communities in protection and restoration work, and undertakes large replanting projects.

Possums are a serious threat to pohutukawa and rata trees. Project Crimson has worked with the Department of Conservation, local authorities, and landowners in possum control and eradication programmes.

Find out more about Project Crimson [Project Crimson website]


Caring for our water

Dr Bruno David – CarpN Neutral Project

Koi carp and other invasive fish contribute to poor water quality in the Waikato Basin. The invasive fish eat insects, native fish eggs, and juveniles and also uproot plants and re-suspend nutrient-rich sediment. Costs to control them are significant.

Bruno David, a freshwater scientist at the Waikato Regional Council, adapted and installed a pilot invasive fish trap and digester that has selectively removed more than 35 tonnes of invasive fish at Lake Waikare in four years. 

Thermophilic bacteria digest the fish into a granular, nutrient-rich material, which has been successfully used as a recycled fertiliser for propagating native plants and compressed into baits for controlling other terrestrial pests such as rats. In the future, sales of this material could offset the cost of traps and digesters at other sites to result in a self-sustaining and cost neutral invasive fish removal programme.

Find out more about the CarpN Neutral Project [Waikato Regional Council facebook page]


Upper Waikato Sustainable Milk Project Steering Group

This large-scale project seeks to motivate and support individual farmers to make practical changes to improve the water quality of the Waikato River. Particular focus is placed on using water more efficiently and reducing the quantity of nutrient and sediment entering the river.

Individual sustainable milk plans were developed for more than 640 farms in the catchment with the help of specially trained advisers. Early results show an average reduction in nutrients lost from farms of 8 per cent for nitrogen and 16 per cent for phosphorus.

The $2.3m project was funded by DairyNZ, the Waikato River Authority, and the Government, and is now being extended to other regions nationwide.

Find out more about the Upper Waikato Sustainable Milk Project [DairyNZ website]


Whangawehi Catchment Management Group

The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group was formed in 2011 to better manage the natural, physical, cultural and spiritual resources of the Whangawehi River catchment, located on the Mahia Peninsula.

Water and fish monitoring, pest control, and a school programme are in place. As an important habitat for inanga and longfin eels, the lower seven kilometres of river is a restoration priority. The group is working with landowners to fence this area, establish riparian margins, and plant large numbers of native trees with the help of community planting days.

This collaboration between local iwi, hapū, councils, landowners, and other agencies has received funding from a wide range of supporters.

Find out more about the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group [Whangawehi Catchment Management Group website]


Minimising our waste

IdealCup – Everyday Limited

IdealCup is the first reusable coffee cup to be designed and manufactured in New Zealand. Attention has been paid to every aspect of its creation, from ensuring its size and shape are ‘barista-friendly’, to replacing the usual imported silicon heat reduction band with integrated fins and demanding all packaging material is 100 per cent recycled.

A desire to reduce and ultimately eliminate the millions of disposable cups and lids that end up as landfill drives the project, and educating consumers about waste is an important component.

In 2014, Oxfam’s Trailwalker event went disposable cup free and sold branded, reusable IdealCups instead. Using the IdealCup reduced waste going to landfills by 38 per cent.

Find out more about IdealCup [IdealCup website]


Junk Run Limited

Offering an alternative to skips, Junk Run’s truck and collectors pick up rubbish from residential and commercial customers in the Auckland region. Separating items that can be reused and recycled begins immediately with staff using their connections and creativity to find homes for as many items as possible.
Junk Run sets goals for its staff on the amount of rubbish saved from landfill, achieving a minimum of 70 per cent diverted. Customers’ efforts are also acknowledged with sustainability rebates and certificates.

Examples include donating unused cricket equipment to the Waikato Cricket Association, distributing tonnes of new industrial-grade carpet to sports clubs, and collecting and servicing bikes for children in foster care.

Find out more about Junk Run [Junk Run website]


Taranaki Arts Festival Trust and Shell – Zero Waste @ WOMAD ­

The three-day WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival attracts 17,500 people to New Plymouth each year. 

Since 2008, Shell and the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust have worked together to reduce the amount of waste at the WOMAD festival. Of the 22,000 kg of refuse collected at the 2015 event, only 20 per cent went to landfill. This was achieved by initiatives such as ensuring the bamboo utensils used by food sellers could be composted, having reusable beverage cups, educating festival goers to sort their refuse and having volunteers available to re-sort the refuse.

A BERL economic report showed that the zero waste element was second only to the music in enhancing the festival experience.

Find out more about WOMAD [WOMAD website]


Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions

Lion – The Pride

The Pride, Lion's Auckland brewery, sets goals for water, energy and solid waste reduction as part of its strategic planning process. Projects in 2014 saved approximately 9600 gigajoules of energy and 80 megalitres of water, which was recognised in the Energy Management award at the NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards.

Lion has an ISO14001 accreditation and staff are encouraged to report ‘environmental near misses’, such as resource wastage, which are investigated by the site environmental team.

All carbon dioxide produced by fermentation is captured and re-used on site. Spent grain is used as animal feed and after use, brewer’s yeast is manufactured into Marmite.

Find out more about Lion’s sustainability story [Lion website]


Soar Printing

In 2009, Soar Printing set out to reduce its carbon emissions by 15 per cent. By 2015, the business had achieved a 35 per cent reduction (from 396 to 256 tonnes). It is now New Zealand’s only printing company to offer carboNZero certified print products and services to the PAS 2050 carbon footprint standard.

All waste streams have been reviewed to identify options for reusing, reducing and recycling. New signage and colour-coded bins for recycling were introduced, food waste is composted, and staff were given a personalised Soar coffee cup when polystyrene cups were removed.

Clear panels were installed in the factory roof to reduce the amount of artificial lighting needed and new automatic sensors control the factory lighting. Significant fuel savings were achieved by changing the company fleet to more fuel efficient cars.

Find out more about Soar Printing [Soar website]


Protecting our oceans and coasts

Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust – Experiencing Marine Reserves

Enabling children to experience the wonder of a healthy marine environment for themselves is the foundation of the Experiencing Marine Reserves education programme.

Now run in schools nationally, the programme begins with classroom workshops and snorkel lessons, followed by a visit to a local unprotected environment and a marine reserve. The students reflect on their visits with questions and worksheets then make an active response, such as sharing their new knowledge with the local community.

By seeing first hand the difference between protected and unprotected environments, children (and their parents) appreciate the value of marine reserves and the importance of marine conservation.

Find out more about the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust [Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust website]


North Island Mussels – Revive Our Gulf Mussel Reef Restoration

Re-establishing mussel beds in the Hauraki Gulf is a vital element in the Gulf’s ecological restoration. Mussels filter particles from the water and provide food and habitats for other species, including snapper. North Island Mussels Ltd supports the Revive Our Gulf Mussel Reef Restoration Project by donating mussels and staff and barge time.

Overfishing and poaching saw the once-ubiquitous mussel beds lost from the Gulf and the Firth of Thames by the 1960s. Although unable to colonise sandy sediment, farmed mussels on long lines have been successfully reintroduced to the area.

North Island Mussels Ltd has donated 70 tonnes of green-lipped mussels to date and supports its staff in regular beach clean ups.

Find out more about North Island Mussels Ltd [North Island Mussels website]


Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura, Kaikōura Coastal Marine Guardians

Te Korowai worked with local iwi, eco-tourism operators, fishers, conservation groups, and scientists to recommend comprehensive actions to secure a healthy future for Kaikōura’s moana (sea).

The 2014 Kaikōura (Te Tai ō Marokura) Marine Management Act cemented their work in special legislation. It will see the establishment of a new marine reserve, whale and fur seal sanctuaries, five customary fishing areas, and recreational fishing regulations. These measures promise to enable the town’s 1.3 million annual visitors to interact sustainably with the diverse local marine life.

Te Korowai members often share their experience at international conferences and with visitors wanting to apply the group’s strategy in their own area.

Find out more about the Guardians [Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura website]