Taranaki laundry and dry-cleaning operation La Nuova Apparelmaster and Wairarapa farming business Aohanga are among those honoured in the 2012 Sustainable 60 awards, announced in Auckland last night.
The Sustainable 60 awards recognise firms which incorporate sustainable practices into the operation and management of their businesses.
La Nuova Apparelmaster won both the marketplace and medium business awards.
With a staff of about 30 in its laundry plus its dry-cleaning operations, family-owned La Nuova's sustainability efforts started with energy cost savings but are now at the heart of its decision-making.
It has made a deliberate decision to focus on being the Taranaki market leader, rather than expand into other regions.
"We have kind of turned it the other way, being able to do a bit of everything is a good thing for us," operations manager Bevan Broughton said.
It prides itself on creating a culture that attracts staff in Taranaki's competitive labour market and fosters ideas.
"It makes sense to have 30-odd people having an input into some ideas than two or three thinking they know it all," Broughton said.
Sheep, beef and forestry agribusiness Aohanga takes out the award for strategy and governance. It is a Maori incorporation with a firm focus on the future.
The hapu, Te Hika o Papauma, has continuously held its land in northern Wairarapa since pre-European times, and has written a 100-year business plan taking it to 2100.
"Most business planning doesn't always capture what a business is or where it's going or how it thinks," chairwoman Mavis Mullins said. "The freedom that a 100-year plan gives you almost starts to give some indication of the kind of business you are and what your thinking is."
PowerSmart, a Tauranga-based provider of solar electricity systems, has won the community award and was also named overall small business winner.
Its initiative in Tokelau, supporting the island nation to achieve 100 per cent solar power, particularly impressed the judges.
Generator Meridian Energy won the environment award for its high standard of environmental management and community. Its latest wind farm project, Te Uku, was an example of excellence in this area.
Westpac New Zealand won the large business award, with its commitment to sustainable business practices over a decade. It has a strong commitment to its community, workforce and lowering its environmental impact, the award organisers said.
This year's winners will be invited to speak at a series of workshops to promote sustainability to other businesses.