Banksia Sustainability Awards winners announced

A comprehensive effort to protect, and in some cases re-establish, some of the world’s rare and endangered species, has won the top prize in the prestigious Banksia Sustainability Awards.

The Lord Howe Island Board’s project, Protecting Paradise, won the 2018 Banksia Gold Award, which recognises the “best of the best” of all category winners, at a ceremony in Melbourne.

“The Banksia judges admired the way sustainability underpinned all the decisions made by the Lord Howe Island Board in managing the World Heritage-listed island,” says Banksia Foundation CEO Graz van Egmond.

The island is located 600 kilometres off the NSW coast and is renowned for its spectacular scenery, important breeding grounds for colonies of seabirds, and its rich biodiversity including many endangered and critically endangered species not found anywhere else in the world.

The Lord Howe Island Board’s holistic approach to protecting this natural wonder impressed the judging panel. Together with the community, the Board has a long history of sustainability and conservation programs that includes a cap on tourists, a world-class waste management facility that diverts 86 per cent of the island waste from landfill, and pest eradication programs.

The Gold Banksia Sustainability Award also recognises the success of the Lord Howe Island’s recovery programs in bringing species back from the brink of extinction, such as the Lord Howe Island Woodhen and the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island stick insect, affectionately known as the land lobster — soon to be returned thanks to successful breeding programs at Zoos Victoria.

The Banksia Awards are in their 30th year and are the longest-running sustainability awards in Australia. Each year, the Banksia Awards bring together and celebrate the most innovative and effective contributions to sustainability in Australia.

The Banksia Foundation is marking this milestone year by aligning the awards with the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The SDGs aim to unite world businesses, governments and citizens to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and protect the planet, and by embracing the SDGs, we’re hoping to raise awareness of them and demonstrate how entrants are contributing to global issues,” Ms van Egmond said.

“The Lord Howe Island Board’s sustainability programs help progress a broad range of SDGs, including Goal 15 – Life on Land, which is to protect ecosystems and halt biodiversity loss.”

The Lord Howe Island Board is joined by 10 other winners over 12 categories of the Banksia Sustainability Awards. Other winners include Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program that bolsters the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef in the face of climate change, which won the Minister’s Award for the Environment.

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