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Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards: from green roofs to big scale change 

Among the inspiring array of winners at this year’s 2016 Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards announced on Thursday was a resident initiated green roof  on an apartment block in St Kilda. It  won the Built Environment category –  ahead of an energy efficiency program at 747 Collins St and Monash University’s Passive House office development.

The 38 Westbury St Green Roof in the City project created an “upstairs backyard” for residents of the strata building, and improved both environmental and social sustainability, the judges said.

In the Innovative Products or Services Award category the winner was Solvup, a cloud-based platform that aims to reduce waste to landfill by enabling retailers to troubleshoot products customers report are not working.

The big commercial winner in the “Large Business Award” was Crown Melbourne with its Crown Earth project covering a range of sustainability actions.

The awards were announced last Thursday in Melbourne. The top award, the Premier’s Recognition Award, went to Winters Flat Primary School in Castlemaine for its Students Leading Change Sustainability Program.

The school also won the Education Award for the student-led program that engaged staff, families and the local community to reduce their carbon footprint. Sustainable practices have also been included in the school’s curriculum.

Last year, student leaders engaged with other schools in the Youth Leading the World Congress, and introduced new school-wide polices such as limiting excess food packaging.

“The awards aim to encourage innovation across all sectors, with a focus on delivering a triple bottom line – environmental, economic, and social benefits for our state,” Sustainability Victoria chief executive Stan Krpan said.

“Victoria 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.

“It has been inspiring to see the awards continue to grow and strengthen throughout their history.”

Premier Daniel Andrews chose Bendigo Sustainability Group as winners of the Premier’s Regional Recognition Award for their work in bringing the community together to implement more sustainable practices across the region.

Solvup, the winner of the  Innovative Products or Services Award is a Victorian-developed digital cloud-based technology platform that aims to reduce waste to landfill by enabling retailers to troubleshoot products that are not working.   Owners of products such as smart phones, laptops or TVs that are malfunctioning can also report the items through call centres or on-line sites connected to the platform.

If troubleshooting doesn’t work, the platform facilitates repair of the item, while owners track progress.

Solvup is a business unit of multi-national reverse logistics firm TIC Group, which also recently opened Victoria’s first fully-automated mattress recycling facility and operates a garment hanger re-use operation for leading clothing retailers.

In 2015, it facilitated 711,673 cases that were either solved with troubleshooting, repair or return and exchange. 120,000 products were repaired with estimated carbon savings of 1008 tonnes, by extending useful life-cycles.

“This prestigious award is recognition of the strong commitment Solvup and the wider TIC Group has to promoting sustainable solutions to retail and business problems,” Adam Joel managing director of TIC Group’s Reverse Logistics Business said.

“Solvup has changed the way retail customer returns are handled for the better. The system is all about ensuring higher customer satisfaction and giving retail goods an extended lifespan.

“So many retail products are returned when there is little wrong with them and a simple repair or troubleshoot will ensure the product reaches its extended life-span.”

Large Business Award was won by Crown Melbourne’s Crown Earth for its sustainability policy, actions and outcomes that have improved sustainability in terms of waste, water and energy across its operations, involving business partners, staff and contractors in achieving outcomes.

Other winners were:

Small and Medium Enterprises Award was won by Yarra Valley Estate for the second time in a row. This conference, wedding and accommodation centre that conducts certified sustainability programs spanning energy, water, waste and community development. The business also won the 2015 Award in this category.

Community Award  was won by Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Switched on Schools Victoria. AYCC has built a movement that engages an entire generation through empowering thousands of high school students to engage with climate change and take meaningful action in their communities.

Environmental Justice AwardVoices of the Valley, following the Hazelwood Mine Fire.

Environmental Protection Award –  Geelong Cemeteries Trust for its Moonah Memorial Walk at Queenscliff Cemetery .

Government Award – City of Boroondara on Behalf of the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action Councils for its Biodiversity Monitoring in Melbourne’s East.

Health Award –  Melbourne Health for its program Reducing Waste One Dialysis Patient at a Time

  • Read more details on the winners and finalists here

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