Auckland-based ocean guardians Sustainable Coastlines have just scooped one of the most prestigious environmental awards on the planet.
From a ceremony in Tehran, Iran today, the New Zealand charity is coming home with international recognition, after winning the World Award in the Youth category at the 18th Energy Globe Awards.
It was selected from over 2,000 submissions from 178 countries to pull what the United Nations Environment Programme-endorsed organisers call the top honour for environmental work globally.
“It was an incredible honour to be on the international stage receiving this accolade on behalf of the hardworking team at Sustainable Coastlines”, says Sam Judd, Co-Founder and CEO. “It was humbling to represent Aotearoa in front so many other inspiring people and projects from all corners of the earth”.
The award was for Sustainable Coastlines’ recently-completed ‘The Flagship’ Education Centre, which is a showcase for social enterprise and sustainability in Auckland waterfront’s popular Wynyard Quarter precinct.
The project, which is an activation of space provided by council organisation Panuku Development Auckland, involved world-first innovation by collaborating with over 2,000 people to build what is on track to becoming the most sustainable commercial building in New Zealand.
This included thousands of hours of work carried out by offenders who learned trade skills while fabricating salvaged steel and timber for the build.
All of the consulting for the fully-consented structure was carried out by a team of pro bono supporters that used integrative design principles to work with salvaged and alternative, non-toxic materials.
The charity aims to register the building for the Living Building Challenge, making it the first fully certified ‘Living Building’ in Auckland. They were inspired by the Tuhoe headquarters in Taneatua – the first ‘Living Building’ outside of the United States.
“It was an incredibly emotional experience to be called up to the stage to receive the award.” says Judd. “Now that we have proven, on the international stage, that our programmes are successful, the challenge now for us is to find the support to upscale our work. We are actively looking for partners to help us prevent plastic from polluting our oceans and to plant trees to protect waterways.”