12 December 2013
3 min read

We announced earlier this year that we were delighted to be partnering with Melbourne-based social enterprise Moral Fairground to launch the 2013 Australian Ethical Enterprise Awards, a national awards program recognising and celebrating Australia’s most inspirational enterprises

We are now able to announce this years winner – Western Desert.

Western Desert, the holistic community health enterprise, were selected as winners of the inaugural Ethical Enterprise Award 2013, for the positive social and economic impact they have had through their innovative ethical practices.

Announced last month at the opening of Fair@Square in Melbourne, Western Desert, also known as the Purple House, has shown the true benefits to tackling a major health issue at a community level.

A non-Government, Indigenous-governed health organisation, Western Desert offers a holistic model of care and support for people needing renal dialysis who would otherwise be forced to leave their communities to access treatment in Alice Springs.

“We offer primary health care, social support such as patient advocacy, housing assistance dialysis education and wellbeing activities, as well as managing the social and cultural issues across more than twenty remote Central Australian communities,” explains Christy van der Heyden, Co-Ordinator Wellbeing Program, Western Desert.

“Our enterprise not only benefits the wider communities with our products, services and workshops but also generates employment for Indigenous people by self determining how cultural and intellectual knowledge is used, ” Ms van der Heyden continued.

“A true inspiration to other ethical and socially conscious organisations, Western Desert originated to help raise funds for a medical need has shown just what can be achieved when a community comes together to provide a service for its own members,” explained Ms Susanna Bevilacqua, Director of Moral Fairground and Founder of the Ethical Enterprise Award.

Paul Smith, co-Founder of the Award and  Head of Marketing at Australian Ethical, (who was also on the judging panel along with Susanna and Karel Boele from Eco Directory) says that, “We had a long list of high quality applications from all across Australia. Deciding on the shortlist of finalist was a monumentally difficult task but, in the end, the panel was unanimous in our decision to award Western Desert.”

Karel Boele added, “This Award, the first of its kind in Australia, celebrates the importance of informed ethical leadership, conscious business and innovation and demonstrates how organisations that seek a fair, just and sustainable offering can also provide great financial returns too.”

A huge Congratulations to Western Desert! Their inspirational story can be viewed at http://www.westerndesertdialysis.com/

The Finalists

The standard of entrants this year was phenomenal and we felt it only fair to share a list of the finalists with you as well.  The finalists were chosen based on their organisation and its achievements – specific projects undertaken, the positive social and economic impact achieved and innovations embraced that position it as an ethical enterprise.

We would like to congratulate every one of them for the outstanding work they do and the life changing impact they have.

1. Ashoil

Ashoil is an Indigenously-owned company that convert waste cooking oil into a renewable fuel and a number of environmentally-friendly products. Ashoil’s operations have been utilised in training and education of Indigenous individuals from across the Pilbara region. This training has successfully acted as a conduit for Indigenous employment outcomes.

2. Ashadesh

Ashadesh is working to enable families living in the slums of Kolkata, India to switch from primitive, smoky stoves that deal disease and death to clean burning ones. Through reduced greenhouse gas emissions we sell carbon offsets to make this possible.

3. The Social Studio

The Social Studio is a fashion label, shop and cafe that celebrates the style and skills of diverse cultures in Australia. The Social Studio champions diversity, community, education, sustainability, design and ethical business practices.

4. CERES Environment Park

CERES is a not for profit community that exists to educate and inspire change-environmentally and socially. CERES invites people to look at how they interact with the world and each other.

5. African Pacific

Through the Nui brand, African Pacific builds direct relationships with local farmers and their families through the production, marketing, sales and distribution of products sourced directly from the growers and producers in the South Pacific region.

6. Eternal Creation

Eternal Creation established in 1999, is known for it flamboyant use of colour and high quality tailoring. They design gorgeous childrens wear, as well as a stylish collection for men and women, available at www.eternalcreation.com Eternal Creation has it’s own manufacturing unit, the Himalaya Tailoring Centre, which is a certified member of the Fair Trade Forum India.


VATMI provides a place of work for people who might not get that opportunity elsewhere. The aim is to support, grow and develop each individual’s skills, build their personal capacity and give a sense of family and team. The businesses consists of packing, processing recyclable materials and art & design.

8. Alter Eco

Alter Eco is a values-based brand of specialty food products that creates sustainable, delicious, exotic, and healthy ingredients from around the world for people to enjoy, while directly benefiting farming communities in the Global South.