Sam Rye Partners Revive

World Environment Day 2020 – Corporate Innovation Challenge Winners

On Friday 5th June, Conservation Volunteers Australia held our first digital Corporate Innovation Challenge to celebrate World Environment Day 2020!

This year’s theme was Biodiversity, and 15 corporate teams from all over Australia came together to come up with their own innovations to the challenge question:

How can we drastically reduce plastics entering our oceans?

CVA asked teams of up to 5 participants to come together with their colleagues to tackle this major environmental issue of our time. Using their combined strengths and talents, corporates took on competing teams across a variety of industries and expertise to develop the most innovative response to one of the below categories:

Reduce plastics – Reduce litter by designing alternative product or packaging materials

Capture litter – Invent an engineered solution or a process to capture plastics before they enter the water

Reuse or repurpose – Develop uses for re-captured plastics to move towards circular economies



Over a 4-hour period, teams went from brainstorming their ideas to writing a persuasive news article on their innovation from the perspective of 10 years in the future, with some fantastic results.

Participating staff were from Boral, Veolia, ARTC, AGL, Orica, BT Australasia, Western Sydney Airport, Chevron, IAG and Origin.


1st Place

And the winner is…… Team Veolia!

Congratulations to them for their innovation that targets plastic leakage at the source and uses recycling technologies that create valued plastic building materials to communities and a sustained positive environmental and economic loop, as it allows for financial incentives to be offered to existing waste picking networks to recover plastics.

Team Veolia participants Pilar Garcia and Randy Mendez were thrilled to accept the prize,

“When tackling the plastics problem, we have to start thinking about the people in the “plastic hotspot” areas that are going to be at the forefront of the solutions. Our idea is to tap into informal waste picker networks in developing countries, offer them incentive schemes for payment plus invest in technology that turns plastics into useful building materials for the community to use. It was a great opportunity to think big for this CVA Challenge and winning a prize that directly contributes to preventing plastic from entering the ocean is so rewarding!”

In recognition of their win, team Veolia have won a branded TAngler Bin that will be donated to a suitable location in Melbourne on their behalf, plus an innovation award produced by Wathaurong Glass & Arts, an Aboriginal cooperative based in Geelong.


2nd Place

Team Orica took out second place with their innovation ‘Sea Bags – Turtles breathe easy tonight’, taking a technology that is already under considerable development and applying it to a wide range of packaging types, with a catchy branding hook that will create strong consumer demand for this type of benign packaging.

Team Orica

3rd Place

Team Boral secured third place by coming up with a Blockchain sorting app that solves a persistent problem in every household where sorting recycling remains surprisingly difficult to do properly. Well sorted plastics open up a range of possibilities such as converting waste to energy, keeping material out of landfill and reducing the chance of blown away plastic winding up in waterways.

The challenge was a huge success with 84% of participants rating the challenge 5/5 for overall experience. The focus of the day was not just about addressing an important environmental issue, but a great opportunity for team building.

Below we share some feedback received from participants in our inaugural challenge.

Team Origin


“It was a fun and meaningful day to spend with my team.”

Su Wei Tan, Origin Energy


“This was a great opportunity to take a step back from our normal workday and think about innovative solutions to such an important problem facing our world’s oceans. I’d love to see our solutions form the basis for further thinking throughout our workplace”

Stewart Corey, Western Sydney Airport


The World Environment Day challenge links to our Revive campaign in which CVA have made a commitment to reducing threats to sensitive aquatic and coastal environments.



Introducing #SeaToSource

Our first digital Corporate Innovation Challenge coincided with the launch of CVA’s new campaign #SeaToSource, a significant project backed by the Australian Government addressing marine debris in our oceans. The Corporate Innovation Challenge directly contributes to our work within the #SeaToSource project and we are looking forward to offering more exciting corporate volunteering opportunities over the coming years.

Interested in running your very own Innovation Challenge for your organisation? We’re working with partners to do just that.


Innovation for nature

Are you interested in our innovation agenda to tackle challenges facing our ecosystems and communities? Get in touch with our Partnerships team to learn more about what we can do together to make a difference.