Tag Archives: environmental management

Golden Gecko Awards 2012

The Golden Gecko Award is the most prestigious award for environmental practitioners working in industry in Western Australia. It is an initiative of the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), and one that recognises “leading practice and innovation in environmental management”.

The last time I attended the Award ceremony was back in 2010, when I was representing Crosslands Resources. We won the award that year, along with  Phoenix Environmental, for innovative research into the effects of vibration on the shield back trapdoor spider, Idiosoma nigrum. I remember being so proud of the entire team for just getting shortlisted. I crossed my fingers, arms and legs and hoped for the best as the awards were being announced. As Crosslands was named the Golden Gecko Award winner, our team let out a cry of excitement, and were hugging and congratulating each other. It was an incredibly exciting time.

This year I attended the ceremony with the Aurecon environmental team for what was an amazing evening. I sat in the audience with the same sense of anticipation as I did two years ago, remembering and understanding what the participants must be feeling. It was very surreal. The companies that were shortlisted for the award were: Karara Mining Ltd; Murphy Pipe and Civil; Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd; Barminco Ltd; Argyle Diamonds Ltd; Citic Pacific Mining Management Pty Ltd; and ESS Support Services Worldwide.

The charming emcee described each project as visuals were cast onto the screen. The Hon Norman Moore spoke for the last time at the Awards as he finishes his final year before enjoying his retirement, and was joined by the Director General, Richard Sellers, Deputy Director General, Approvals Group, Tim Griffin and Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey of the Department of Mines and Petroleum. We were also honoured with the presence of the Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Professor Lyn Beazley. And then the winners were announced:

  • The Certificate of Merit went to Argyle Diamonds Ltd; and
  • The Golden Gecko Award went to Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd

    Golden Gecko Awards 2012

    The Hon. Norman Moore presenting at the 2012 Golden Gecko Awards

When the group from Pendoley were called out, cheers and woo-hoo’s came from the audience.  Kellie Pendoley accepted the Award from the Hon. Norman Moore with a hug and kiss on the cheek. As Phil Gorey described the science and innovative approach to tracking and understanding the movements and ecology of the turtles visiting Australia’s coastlines, Kellie stood on stage glowing with pride and excitement. This Award represented years of hard work and dedication. Kellie described the beginnings of the company after being let go from a previous organisation due to cost-cutting, how as a company they often provided information to the community, consultants and industry free of charge, and how their work was never compromised by answering to industry, government or other various stakeholders. Kellie made us laugh and infected us with her excitement. The atmosphere in the room was electric. The innovation, collaboration, hard work and leadership was an inspiration to us all.

Hon. Norman Moore, Kellie Pendoley and Phil Gorey

Hon. Norman Moore, Kellie Pendoley and Phil Gorey

The evening was brilliant, thanks to a small team from the DMP. The jovial nature of those handing out our name tags, the choice of venue, the drinks and nibbles, the stage backdrop, length of speeches and program in general was all coordinated by, what is to most of us, a virtual group of people. My only suggestion for improvement is that they should have been brought on stage and applauded for doing such a great job.

The Golden Gecko Award and everything they represent both directly and indirectly inspired our environmental team to further embrace the Aurecon values:

  1. Fostering human achievement through excellence, innovation and collaboration;
  2. Celebrate diversity and respect others by acting with integrity and honesty;
  3. Work to build a vibrant and brighter future for all.

The Awards this year represented the values that Aurecon as an organisation stands for – an amazing event inspired this year by an amazing woman leading a company that has demonstrated leading practice and innovation in environmental management.

Congratulations to Kellie and the team at Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd!



Environmental Culture-Building Program

The coexistence of those with environmental interests and those with mining interests is often perceived to be like “chalk and cheese.” While that may have been the case 10 years ago, it is no longer the case now. Australians naturally have very strong connections with their environment – our beaches, our small country towns surrounded by natural areas, our climate and our unique flora and fauna. Protecting our way of life and the values associated with being Australian and a lover of the great outdoors coincides with looking after our countryside, our beaches, our outback.  So, there is no reason why this connection wouldn’t extend into the workplace and thus there is no reason why there should be a conflict.

Factors that may influence that conclusion may include:

  • the remote locations of the workplace in comparison to the home location and therefore a disconnect with the outdoor values associated with being at home; and
  • the male-dominated nature of the workforce (an average of 19% female within the mining industry in Western Australia, 2012).

Building an environmental culture within a mining company isn’t easy. The transient nature of the Australian mining workforce and the short-term nature of project construction adds to the difficulty. It is also worthy to note that this is a long-term initiative and will likely take at least five years to see results.

If an industry-wide approach to building an environmental culture was taken then the positive outcomes from such programs would be observed much sooner.

There is such a positive arguement for implementing a culture-building program:

  • the budget requirements for such a program can be minimal;
  • reduces risk of impacts to the environment;
  • involving the broader workforce encourages diversity of ideas; and
  • an environmental culture extends beyond the mine site and into homes and our way of life.

Support and endorsement by the senior management team is critical to its success. While an environmental culture-building program can be implemented without the directive of senior management, the success of any program within a mining company is very much dependent on a top-down approach.

Internal culture-building programs can be developed by:

  • provision of information;
  • environment-themed activities; and
  • employee involvement to facilitate decision-making that extends beyond the formal environment teams.

Examples of such initiatives are provided below.

Provision of information:

  • weekly newsletters (email and posted in tea rooms);
  • prompts for recylcing waste, energy (e.g. turning off computer screens) and water usage;
  • signage;
  • environmental-themed calenders.

Environment-themed activities:

  • celebrating and reflecting on significant dates (earth day, world environment day);
  • tree planting.

Employee involvement

  • green committee’s at all facilities and implementation of their intiatives to reduce and recycle waste, increase energy efficiencies, and reduce water efficiency.
  • competitions (going beyond compliance, nature photo competition for annual calender).
  • developing “environmental representative” programs and involvement for those that dont have a formal environmental education.

Please send me any ideas or initiatives that you have implemented. I’d be keen to hear what you are doing and how you measure success of the program.