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Sustainability gets local with Northern Sustainable Business Network Awards winners announced

Showing how widespread sustainability initiatives have spread, everything from banking to architecture was honoured at last night’s Northern Sustainable Business Network (SBN) Awards and even new kid on the directories block Localist managed to score some brownie/greenie points with the judges.

The awards, which recognise businesses that demonstrate leadership by embracing innovation, sustainability and regenerative practices in their day-to-day operation, dished out five category accolades all up.

Trailblazer – Small and Medium Business 

Tahi Estate, a privately owned eco property located on the East Coast of Northland, 30 minutes drive from Whangarei, took out the ‘Trailblazer – Small and Medium Business’ category for its stand out passion, planning and integration of sustainability across the business. Judges said Tahi Estate is an example of a company where sustainability is central to the organisation’s business.

”Being a family business, Tahi is building for the long term and hence sustainability is our only option. We also believe sustainability defines our clientele – people with a commitment to the future – there will be many more of them,”said John Craig, Manager and Co-owner, Tahi.

Miranda Brown of Conscious Cloth, a fashion design house based in Auckland, was awarded a Commendation in this category. Judges were impressed with the amazing innovation across sustainable product development.

Trailblazer – Large and Corporate Business Award 

This award was picked up by Westpac with judges praising the bank’s specific targets and achievements in key environmental areas of travel, waste and energy.

Auckland-based printing firm, Soar Printing, took home a Commendation in this category. Judges were impressed with Soar’s balanced triple bottom line approach with and the fact that the company is NZ’s only carbon neutral offset printer.

Trailblazer – Not for Profit 

Framework Trust, which delivers community based mental health and intellectual disability services in greater Auckland, won the ‘Trailblazer – Not for Profit’ category. Judges commended the Trust’s commitment and action on sustainability initiatives, in particular its community engagement.

“Framework sees itself as cutting edge in terms of being a sustainable NGO in the mental health sector, setting us apart from other organisations,” said Framework chief executive Colin Hayes. “Our change in procurement processes has influenced our point of difference and has an economical and environmental impact. In turn, this raises our social and environmental responsibility and profile. As sustainability and environmental issues increase in importance, we have the opportunity to be leaders in influencing other organisations and networks in our field.”

Emerging – Small to Medium Business Award 


Modular housing company Box Living won the ‘Emerging – Small to Medium Business Award’ for its whole ethos of designing out problems relating to construction waste and water collection.  Judges were impressed with their vision and focus on providing a better outcome for more people and good use of local sustainable products.

“Sustainability makes sense because simply put, an investment in lowering running costs, increasing levels of quality, and providing products that do the same, just makes sense,” said Dan Heyworth, general manager of Box Living.

Emerging Large Corporate and Business Award 

Auckland community directory website Localist won the ‘Emerging Large Corporate and Business Award’. Judges liked the approach Localist took in its influence over its market and local communities and its own choices such as recycled office furniture. They were also impressed with the number of staff trained in sustainability. They said the Localist brand has, in essence,  been developed with the intention of being a ‘fully local’ business.

"The commitment to this is impressive and can be demonstrated not only through your own product and service delivery but also through your supply chain, wherever possible, for example purchase of your signage and furniture in your immediate area,” they said.

The Northern section of the awards mark the first of a number of regional awards, with the winners in each competing in the national round of awards later in the year.

Putting all the award entrants under scrutiny this year were judges Sarah Sinclair (SKM), Alec Tang (ERM), Maggie Lawton (Futurebydesign Ltd), Peta Fraser (IAG), Dick Hubbard (Hubbards Food Ltd), Lesley Stone (University of Auckland), Kath Dewar (GoodSense Ltd), Sophie Heighway (NZ Post Group), Manuel Seidel (KBS Sustainable Innovation Partners), Fabian Yukich (Villa Maria Estate Ltd) and Gary Swift (Auckland Council Investments Ltd).

This story originally appeared on Idelaog Sustain.

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