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Winners SEA 2012

The ten best projects in thecategory Best Project, the Best Idea as well as the most outstanding project, which received 10,000 euros in prize money, were announced at the gala event on 19 April at Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

Category 'Best Project'

BeeZee Designs & BeeZee EcoKid, Slovenia*

BeeZee EcoKid is a nature-friendly fashion, home décor, jewellery and toy line whose goal is not only to clothe children and their mothers, but also to inspire and protect them, to spread love for ani-mals and nature and to celebrate art as an expression of nature's beauty.

* This project receives the jury prize of 10,000 euros. In keeping with the statutes of the Club of sustainable entre-preneurs – Verein für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften, the prize money must be invested in this or another sustainable project.

bauMax AG, Austria

In 2003 bauMax AG worked together with NGOs supporting disabled people to produce an action plan, which speci-fied the following measures:

  1. Creation of a central contact point at corporate headquarters dedicated to the integration of people with disabilities.
  2. Development of an internal network. This means that in each country people were put in charge of the integra-tion of disabled employees.
  3. Raising awareness of management and staff in the different markets.

Cropster GmbH, Austria

Cropster GmbH developed the internet-based platform Cropster C-sar to support sustainable agriculture. Processors such as coffee roasters, farmers, research units and development organisations can control the quality of their prod-ucts such as coffee, cocoa or tropical fruits and more easily follow all processes. In this way, the direct communication and information exchange between farmers and processors is strengthened.

The goal is to create a transparent market system through easier access to information. Cropster supports quality production, market access and the management of a successful, small company for farmers. The sustainable integration of farmers in markets for quality products is very important, for only in this way can farmers earn a fair income. Cropster C-sar supports farmers with production issues and helps them to administer and organise their business professionally.

Through the improved administration of their production data, farmers can more easily make decisions and they have relevant information at their disposal, which creates access to additional services of a financial nature. Furthermore, they have the relevant information at hand when it comes to certification audits.

GLS Bank, Germany

GLS Bank offers the broadest social and ecological bank products in Germany: from current accounts, cash management and savings accounts, to investment funds, shareholdings and various options for foundations and donations. As of mid-2011, the bank counted 110,000 customers and recorded a balance sheet total of over EUR 2bn. Thanks to the great demand, GLS Bank was able to double its staff to 380 in the past three years.

Gugler GmbH, Austria

"Cradle to cradle" is better than "cradle to the grave". This means that all raw materials – technical and biological – are recycled in closed cycles and do not become waste. The cradle-to-cradle (C2C) concept was developed by EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH (Hamburg, Germany). It presents a good alternative to traditional eco-efficiency.

Cradle-to-cradle does not claim to assess the eco-efficiency (the used amount), but primarily checks the materials with regard to their contents and their environmental impact (ecological quality, eco-effectiveness). Here, the materials are generally regarded as nutrients that can circulate permanently, so that waste does not arise at all.

In this research project, special emphasis is placed on checking the production process of print products as to its environmental compatibility, for its entire life cycle. In order to implement the C2C concept, existing materials must be replaced by environment-friendly ones and/or components must be newly developed according to specific criteria.

KAITO Energie AG, Germany

KAITO AG founded a non-profit association for the promotion of self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in Africa. Implementation of this in Senegal through the local KAITO subsidiary, in Germany through seminars, webinars, CSR projects managed by the KAITO Energy AG Communication and PR is tailored to the sustainability expert groups, CSR-oriented companies, social business, and the Africa-affiliated audience. Accompanying series of booklets.

Kamaeleon – Recyclingmode für Kinder, Austria

Kamaelon describes itself as imaginative, sustainable and fair. We don't want boring – we want fun. We assume responsibility for our actions. We design witty clothes that are sure to become favourites, created out of second-hand men's shirts and recycled fleece fabrics.

We don't just make clothes – we make wearable toys. Dad's shirts get a second life and PET bottles are turned into a cosy showpiece. We conclude our sewing contracts with people who are able to make a better future for themselves with our support. We love transformation.

Malerei Johannes Herbsthofer, Austria

After successfully halving its climate-relevant emissions, the goal to become a climate-neutral painter and decorator company was achieved in 2010. The focus of the project was to develop a practical way to get to grips with the unavoidable indirect (grey energy of products) and direct CO2 emissions (company mobility).

Through this and through the radical restriction of the company's use of vehicles, an exemplary model was created in which CO2 is offset on the basis of the CO2 equivalents calculated annually through regional humus production.

Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG, Austria

The founding philosophy of VISP contained two important points. On the one hand, the aim was to counteract the increasing volumes of bulky refuse and, on the other hand, to counteract long-term unemployment in Lower Austria through additional initiatives.

The processing of bulky refuse and the sale of washing machines and second-hand goods were abandoned with the introduction of the EAG regulation. The main activity of transit employees and by far the largest source of revenue is currently the dismantling of visual display units.

Sonnentor Kräuterhandelsgesellschaft mbH, Austria

Sonnentor Kräuterhandelsgesellschaft says of itself: The foundation of the laughing sun's success lies in our commitment to sustainable and ecological entrepreneurship. Living and letting live, life cycle thinking and appreciation form the basis of our day-to-day activities.

Today Sonnentor employs 167 people in Austria and over 150 organic farmers are part of the Sonnentor family, generating a total of 500 jobs. Subsidiaries have been opened in the Czech Republic (1992), Romania (2006) and Albania (2008), each with a local partner – with the same motivation and the same goals as in Austria. Our company offers organic farmers new long-term income opportunities, thus contributing to the preservation of small-scale farms and organic agriculture.

Category 'Best Idea'

routeRANK, Switzerland

RouteRANK is a software application for travel planning. Unlike other solutions that consider only one means of transport at a time, routeRANK takes the entire travel route into account by integrating rail, road and air connections. In a single search, routeRANK's patent-pending technology finds and ranks the best possible travel routes, allowing users to sort them according to their priorities such as price, travel time and CO2 emissions.

Category 'SEA of Excellence'

Felix Finkbeiner, Germany

The first ever SEA of Excellence is being awarded to Felix Finkbeiner, a 14-year-old from Germany, for his Plant for the Planet initiative. In 2007, at the age of 9, Felix Finkbeiner founded this school project with the aim of offsetting carbon emissions by planting one million trees in every country of the world. Thanks to his resounding success, he has raised his target to 1,000 billion trees worldwide. Christina Weidinger, the SEA’s founder, explains why a 14-year-old is receiving an award for his life’s work: “What impressed me was that a boy of 9 at the time realised that there’s something each of us can do to create a more liveable world.

Felix puts a remarkable amount of energy into promoting his project and he has already inspired more than 100,000 youngsters in over 100 countries. For this reason he has also become a role model for all grown-ups. Standing up for sustainability has nothing to do with age – Felix is living proof of this with his Plant for the Planet initiative. And this is precisely what the SEA is about. We want to honour those who have rendered outstanding services to sustainability in practice."