Australian digital innovation wins United Nations Award

Australian digital innovation wins United Nations Award

An Australian initiative – the online platform Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) – has been locally and internationally recognised by the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) in the World Environment Day Awards.

Sarah El-Atm
Posted by Sarah El-Atm

Developed and maintained by Melbourne-based digital agency August and the Office of Living Victoria, SWEP also received the honour of making it into the 2014 Sustainia100.

This initiative from the Scandinavian-based think tank publishes an annual guide to the world’s top 100 solutions in innovation and sustainability each year.

The think tank is chaired by Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarznegger.

With more than 500 schools participating in SWEP, these awards put sustainability innovation at the forefront of public discussion.

In presenting the awards, the UNAA judges recognised that schools participating in SWEP had saved more than 700 million litres of water and $2 million dollars. Money that can easily be better spent on other items for the schools including computers, building works and teaching aids.

The UNAA World Environment Day Awards recognise Australian achievements and excellence in the areas of environment, social justice and media.

The awards ceremony was held on 13 June at Luna Park’s Crystal Ballroom in Sydney and was hosted by Rob Gell and Her Excellency Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW.

It saw SWEP recognised for its beneficial contribution to the environment, taking out the award for Excellence in Sustainable Water Management.

“We’re thrilled that SWEP has been recognised by the United Nations for its unique combination of innovation, sustainability, design and technology,” says Zoe Warne, co-founder of August.

“The technology behind SWEP can be applied not just in schools, but in any business that should be monitoring their water and electricity usage.”

Along with the UNAA award, SWEP is also among leading green innovations in the 2014 Sustainia100.

Each year, the Scandinavian think tank, Sustainia, announces its list of 100 leading sustainability innovations worldwide.

Sustainia identifies projects, initiatives and technologies at the forefront of sustainable innovation. It focuses on identifying and advocating readily available, financially viable and scalable innovations – those that can have an immediate impact on the environment.

From more than 900 entries worldwide, SWEP made the final 100 list. The full Sustainia100 is available here.

Speaking from Norway, Laura Storm, Director of Sustainia said: “The selected Sustainia100 solutions are an inspiration to companies, cities and consumers worldwide. Sustainable innovation is truly transforming markets and industries these years – things are happening at an incredible pace. You will lack behind if you as a business do not gear your company towards a changed landscape, where an efficient and sustainable operation is key to long-term survival.”