Environmental Achievers Rewarded

23 May 2008

Queensland and Western Australian farmers and small businesses scooped the pool at the national EMS Awards presented in Newcastle this week.

The Awards, hosted by the EMS Association and sponsored by CGU, reward and recognise farmers and small business operators who have successfully implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS).

An EMS is a systematic way of examining your environmental impacts and working out how you will address these to improve your overall environmental performance.

The premier awards winners in the Farmer and Small Business Category were
Pacific Coast Eco Bananas (producers of red tipped bananas) from Innisfail, Qld and Tortoiseshell farm (bed & breakfast), Bridgetown WA.

Each received a $2,200 cash prize presented by Allan Tomkins and Trinette Jaeskche of CGU, registration to the National Forum and membership of the EMS Association.

The runner’s up were the Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association, Brisbane Qld and The Organic Fine Food Company, Bridgetown WA, who received a delegate registration to the Forum and membership of the EMS Association.

Genevieve Carruthers, EMS Association President, said that the award recipients demonstrate that the use of an EMS allows both profit and environmental management to be achieved and inspire people through the shared experience of innovative approaches to EMS in Australia.

“It is fantastic to be able to recognise people and organisations committed to working in this way – and we are grateful for CGU for making this possible,” she said.

“The Association is seeking to build on the awards and make them an annual event.”

The presentation dinner was held as part of the 2nd National EMS Forum, which explored a diverse range of topics including climate change, how the business and government sectors are using EMS, green-washing and sustainability reporting.

More Details and Interviews
Call the award recipients or Genevieve Carruthers on 02 6626 1237 OR 0427 102934
Photographs of the award winners are available on request.

Farmer Category - Winner

Frank and Diane Sciacca, Pacific Cost Eco-bananas, Innisfail Queensland, Ph: 07 4064 2452

The Sciacca’s have set high standards both for their product and their process, which has achieved a national scale distribution and product recognition. This has resulted in communicating the EMS message to a broad range of people, including a local university where students are able to participate in monitoring the program and gaining knowledge and opportunities to participate in research projects with the business. The Sciacca’s view their EMS as a slow growing organism that requires constant feedings, attention, energy, enthusiasm and commitment. They have captured this in their EMS and farming activities to protect the environment on and off the farm to improve their environmental performance.

Read Dianne's presentation to the EMS/CGU Awards Dinner

Farmer Category – Merit Award

Errol and Irma Seymour, The Organic Fine Food Company, Bridgetown WA, Ph: 08 9761 2901

The Seymour’s use an EMS to establish priorities and draw all management tasks together. The central point of focus has assisted them with developing farm action plans, setting targets, record-keeping, monitoring and, most importantly, preserving their natural environment. The EMS also highlighted areas of production that needed to be carefully monitored such as underground water supply and wetlands.

Small Business Category - Winner

Sheila Howat, Tortoiseshell Farm, Bridgetown WA, Ph: 08 97611089

Sheila has been innovative in the way she has implemented the EMS by using an integrated ‘whole of business’ approach. This business has taken into consideration neighbours, wildlife corridor links, local catchment group regional strategies, community and local government targets in its EMS in order to have sustainable outcome. By focusing on a variety of natural resource management issues, the business has focused on practices that not only reduce the impact on the local environment, but enhance it.

Small Business Category - Merit Award

Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association, Ascot Queensland, Ph: 0740642452 or 0417 771291

The MBSIA has made their EMS a key part of the way they do business. This has resulted in better communication within their industry and allowed them to become proactive and responsible when promoting and adopting environmentally friendly practices. This business has found that their success with their EMS is a result of industry participation and collaboration with stakeholders. The industry has faced much attention over recent years and this business has found that an EMS has allowed them to prioritise risks without adversely affecting its triple bottom line.