The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Nick Smith, and the Minister of Conservation, the Hon Maggie Barry, announced the winners of the 2015 Green Ribbon Awards at a ceremony at Parliament on 4 June 2015. The 2015 winners in each category are listed below.
Supreme winner and winner of Philanthropy and partnership
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
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
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]
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
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
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]
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]
Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions
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
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]