Yarra Valley Estate has won the Small and Medium Enterprises category in this year's Premier's Sustainability Awards for a program that drives sustainability across all operations.
Wedding and conference venue, Yarra Valley Estate is aiming to be carbon neutral and fully environmentally restorative within 12-24 months, achieving zero waste.
They measure their footprint and benchmark operations with EarthCheck. The 120-acre rural property takes a holistic approach in terms of natural habitat and wildlife protection. They grow their own vegetables, are water independent, and source produce and staff locally.
Social sustainability is equally important to the business. Each year they contribute 8-11 per cent of net revenue to disadvantaged communities.
Winters Flat Primary School in Castlemaine won the top honour of the night - the Premier's Recognition Award - for its program developing sustainability programs that engage not only their school, but their local council, businesses, Indigenous groups and their whole community.
“Each year we continue to discover the passion Victorians have for protecting their environment and thinking creatively about new sustainable practices," says CEO Sustainability Victoria, Stan Krpan.
“Our state has an excellent track record of delivering innovative projects that benefit our environment and the community through efficient waste management, resource recovery, and new technologies for clean energy.
“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. Your contributions will have positive long-term effects on our society and our way of life."
The Premier also chose Bendigo Sustainability Group as winner of the Premier's Regional Recognition Award for their region-wide program. They are an active and well connected organisation that brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, empowering their community to drive a range of sustainability programs.
The winners of the Premier’s Sustainability Awards 2016are:
Built Environment Award: '38 Westbury Street' Green Roof in the City - This 'upstairs backyard' green roof shows the monumental changes a community of apartment residents can make to their physical environment and the quality of their lives.
Community Award: Australian Youth Climate Coalition for Switched on Schools Victoria - Building a generation-wide movement by empowering tens of thousands of high school students to engage with climate change and take meaningful action in their communities.
Education Award: Winters Flat Primary School Castlemaine for their ‘Students leading change’ Winters Flat PS Sustainability program - A regional state primary school harnesses the power of community, their student voice and deep environmental respect to drive their inspiring work.
Environmental Justice Award: Voices of the Valley for their Community support following the Hazelwood Mine program - Voices of the Valley was formed in response to the impacts of the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire. As advocates, they have achieved justice for their community.
Environmental Protection Award: Geelong Cemeteries Trust for the Moonah Memorial Walk at Queenscliff Cemetery - A carefully planned nature reserve offering unique burial and cremation memorials within a protected coastal woodland.
Government Award: City of Boroondara on behalf of the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (EAGA) for Biodiversity Monitoring in Melbourne's East - Local councils, researchers, agencies and government develop and trial a framework for monitoring biodiversity, recognised in the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards.
Health Award: Melbourne Health for Reducing Waste One Dialysis Patient at a Time - Melbourne Health champions a range of waste reduction initiatives to significantly decrease the amount of clinical waste their kidney treatment service produces each year.
Innovative Products or Services Award: Solvup - Building a Global Standard for Sustainable Retail - Victorian-developed technology used by retail stores and call centres encourages 100 per cent lifecycle from all products, leading the 'sustainable retail return' movement.
Large Business Award: Crown Melbourne for Crown Earth - A policy, a strategy, plans, actions and outcomes that drive sustainability across Crown Melbourne's operations. Business partners, employees and contractors all play vital roles.
Small and Medium Enterprises Award: Yarra Valley Estate - A conference, wedding and accommodation centre conducts certified sustainability programs spanning energy, water, waste and community development.
The awards ceremony was held at the Plaza Ballroom and was hosted by entertainer Eddie Perfect.
For photographs from the Awards dinner and more information on the winners, visit www.sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au. For media information or interviews, contact Cath Newell on
0423 587 478.