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Villa Maria Estate captures big prize

Villa Maria Estate captures big prize at NZI National Sustainable Business Network awards

Auckland’s Villa Maria Estate has been named Sustainable Business of the Year at the NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards announced last night (22 November).

The awards, which are now in their ninth year, are the pre-eminent sustainability awards in New Zealand. They recognise leaders in social innovation and businesses that are championing sustainability and new sustainable market solutions. The awards celebrate savvy organisations that are reshaping their business models for a more sustainable New Zealand.

The award judges praised Villa Maria for its avant garde approach within its own industry saying that the business is a clear demonstration of what is possible across all sectors in New Zealand. Judges singled out the company’s responsible approach to marketing alcohol and its understanding of the social impact of alcohol consumption for particular praise. Villa Maria was also winner of the Trailblazer – Large Business category.

“Villa Maria provides a great example of how successful business and leading-edge sustainable practices can go hand in hand,” says Sustainable Business Network Chief Executive Rachel Brown.

Other key awards announced were the People’s Choice Award, presented to Raw Essentials, a raw pet food company that uses locally-sourced, pest species. This award was open to public voting: from a selection of five finalists, chosen by the award sponsor Vodafone, members of the public were able to vote for their favourite sustainable business.

The Social Innovation Award was presented to Te Whangai, an organisation that provides young unemployed people with the opportunity to work in a plant nursery.

The winner of the Sustainable Design and Innovation Award was Return to Sender, a company that produces biodegradable caskets and urns in which ashes can be interred.

Founder of Phoenix Organics, Chris Morrison received the Sustainability Champion Award for his tireless work in sustainability organisations such as the New Zealand Biological Producers and Consumers Society (which operates the BioGro Organic Certification programme) and his contribution to multiple green companies as a founder and investor. Judges commented that Chris is a true pioneer who has demonstrated great resilience and endurance.

The full list of NZI National Sustainable Business Network Award winners is:

Raw Essentials (locally-sourced raw pet food using pest species) – Small Emerging Business Winner

Colmar Brunton (market research company) – Medium Emerging Business Winner

Trevelyan Pack and Cool Ltd (packing and cool storage for kiwifruit and avocados) – Large Emerging Business Winner (sponsored by EECA)

Kokako (organic coffee company) – Small Trailblazer Winner

James & Wells Intellectual Property (intellectual property law firm) – Medium Trailblazer Winner (sponsored by University of Waikato Management School)

Villa Maria Estate (wine industry) – Large Trailblazer Winner (sponsored by Ricoh)

Unitec Institute of Technology (tertiary provider) – Trailblazer Not-for-Profit Winner (sponsored by Convergence Communications)

Te Whangai – Social Innovation Award (sponsored by NZ Post)

Return to Sender – Sustainable Design & Innovation Award (sponsored by AUT University)

Chris Morrison – Sustainability Champion (sponsored by Element magazine)

Raw Essentials – People’s Choice Award (sponsored by Vodafone)

Villa Maria Estate – Sustainable Business of the Year

Commendations in their respective national award categories were given to regional winners Meridian Energy, Sharp Tudhope Lawyers and Kaimira Estate Wines. Commendations were also awarded to Gap Filler for the Social Innovation Award and Biobrew for the Sustainable Design and Innovation Award.


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