South African musician Chris Chameleon who made his mark in the band Boo performs his interpretations of Ingrid Jonkers poetry in the show "Chris Chameleon sings Ingrid Jonker". 3 April 2006 ABSA KKNK 1 - 8 April, Oudtshoorn, RSA Credit: ©Adrian de Kock / backpagepix

Workplace Staff

When the organisers of South Africa’s Green Office Week (www.greenofficeweek.co.za) launched a new award to recognise and reward workplace eco-champions, they did not expect to find so many unsung heroes in our corridors and boardrooms quietly changing the way we do business.

The Green Heart Award believes “you make a difference” and the finalists demonstrate two things:

Firstly that anyone at any rung of the corporate ladder can promote green behaviours (interestingly enough it was not just the private sector who showed enthusiasm but one of the finalists is from the government); and secondly that green ambassadors are found in small and large organisations.

The finalists from a long list of innovative green advocates are:

l Woolworths – Andre Smith, catering manager

Nominator, Justin Smith, sustainability head at Woolworths says: “Andre has a personal passion and a diplomatic approach, partnering with other business units to achieve green objectives.”

l Pelchem – Avheani Lukoto, personal assistant

Nominator, Matome Chepage of logistics, says: “Avheani initiated green awareness at Pelchem and explained to all employees the importance of caring for the environment.”

l Groenvoer Products cc – Cathy Khoury-Prinsloo, owner/manager

Jennifer Sarkis from administration who nominated Cathy says: “Cathy organised plastic, glass and paper collections for our customers many years ago, long before it became trendy to do so.”

l Recreation Africa Hotels and Resorts/Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference and Spa – Robert Forsyth, group executive chairman

Group general manager, Craig Butler, says: “Robert is a keen environmentalist and this is noticeable at the hotel.

“Everything is recycle or reused – wastage is avoided in all ways possible.”

l City of Joburg Municipality – Sabata Khoetha, assistant director.

Nominator, Thabo Mametja, administration assistant says: “Sabata has inspired and motivated workers to be more green in the cause of saving our planet.”

Some of the sponsors of the award are: Bamboo Warehouse, CarbonTrack, Europcar, LEMS Energy Management, Sappi, Trees in Tubes, and TCH Bonisa.

The winner will be announced at a luncheon on Friday, alongside the inaugural Green Heart Award – Celebrity Category – which this year has been won by singer Chris Chameleon.

The Green Heart Award celebrity category was launched to acknowledge SA celebrities who inspire others to adopt a greener lifestyle and to be aware of their carbon footprint.

Voting took place on Facebook for this category and Chameleon was a comprehensive winner.

Irvan Damon, of Big Brother fame and spokesperson for the award says: “Celebrities have historically been powerful in influencing trends and behaviour because they are able to attract the public’s attention and interest.

“Their media stature provides them with various communication platforms, including now the social media one, to promote positive environmental messages.

“When celebrities like Chris Chameleon become ambassadors for a brand and vocalise their support they can generate widespread change.”

l For more information on the Award call 011 616 7401. Visit www.greenofficeweek.co.za