New Banksia Sustainability Awards for local government

In this the 25th year of the prestigious Banksia Sustainability Awards, they have announced two new awards to recognise local government’s strong focus on sustainability.

Sustainability has become a core strategic pillar for the local government sector as it reflects many of local government agencies’ own objectives such as a healthy environment, resilient community and strong local economy. Councils recognise that these are interdependent, and that to achieve their goals in one area, they must address all three.

Local government has a direct impact on the local environment and communities through its policies and actions, as well as significant influence on the actions of local communities and businesses.

“Local initiatives have the capacity to extend beyond district boundaries and have very wide implications... Local governments are focal points for change and innovation in this domain.” (Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, 2011)

Banksia recognises the leadership by local government in addressing sustainability in their operations and community. As such, Net Balance and ECO-Buy are delighted to announce we are partnering with Banksia Foundation to sponsor the following two awards.

The Local Government Sustainability Award, sponsored by Net Balance, recognises organisational leadership in fully integrating sustainability principles and practices into operational activities at all levels and reducing the organisation's footprint.

Councils have shown leadership in areas such as:

  • Reducing their greenhouse emissions through renewable energy and efficiency projects
  • Enhancing local biodiversity through conservation and establishing parks and gardens
  • Establishing community sustainability programs
  • Providing training and employment opportunities to disadvantaged groups
  • Planning for climate change adaptation in infrastructure
  • Reducing waste to landfill through increased recycling and organic waste collection.

The Local Government Sustainable Procurement Award, sponsored by ECO-Buy, recognises leadership in achieving environmental, social and economic outcomes through the purchase of goods and services.

ECO-Buy previously ran an awards program for green and sustainable purchasing for 10 years, recognising councils such as Cardinia Shire Council, City of Whitehorse, and Alpine Shire Council (2011 winners). The Banksia Award for Local Government Sustainable Procurement replaces the ECO-Buy Awards.

Leading practices we have seen in this area include:

  • Using comprehensive ESD requirements in large capital works projects through the contracts and tenders process
  • Tracking and recording the purchase of environmentally or socially preferable products
  • Implementing sustainable procurement policies with a strong commitment to targets and objectives
  • Social procurement, especially the use of social enterprises and minority suppliers
  • Capacity building of local suppliers to improve their sustainability performance.

The Banksia Awards are currently open for application, and close on 26 July. We encourage local governments throughout Australia to apply for this prestigious opportunity.