Mr Waddell, project manager at Mataura Valley Milk, near Gore, won the change-maker category in the Sustainable Business Awards, announced at a function in Auckland this week.
He has led a project to enable the plant to operate entirely on electricity and it would become the country’s first 100% electric dairy factory powered by renewable energy.
It involved building the first high-pressure electric boiler at a milk powder factory in New Zealand, replacing a coal-fired boiler.
The citation said the project’s success had been due to Mr Waddell’s determination, leadership and drive, leading it from concept through to completion.
Initially, his electrical and operational background enabled him to see that full-site electrification was possible from a technological perspective.
He then developed the business case, secured funding and got board and senior leadership approval.
He brought together multiple complex elements to bring the project to life, including new technologies, commercial power agreements, internal stakeholders and EECA funding.
The project was expected to reduce carbon emissions by about 22,000 tonnes of CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent), equivalent to removing all vehicles in Gore off the road.
The project is a collaboration between Mataura Valley Milk and EECA.
Mataura Valley Milk is 75% owned by the a2 Milk Company.
Pathfinder Asset Management dominated the awards, firstly winning the communicating for impact award for its ability to communicate how companies can grow individual wealth and have a positive impact on people, communities and the planet.
Pathfinder managing director John Berry won the sustainability superstar award ‘‘through outstanding leadership as a tireless champion of ethical investing’’.
Pathfinder also won the supreme transforming Aotearoa New Zealand award.