Editor’s note: We’ll look at various aspects of the Sustainia100 all week. This is part one in a series of six. Here are parts two, three, four, five and six.
This year’s Sustainia100 selection committee got its hands and eyes on plenty of good news before it even crafted its guide on the leading sustainability cases and businesses around the planet.
The committee of 21 advisors from organizations and universities in Europe and elsewhere had 900 nominations to choose from. That means nearly 1,000 companies and projects made key decisions that considered the environmental impact of their practices and products—a pretty encouraging development for the Scandinavian think tank that tracks sustainable solutions across various sectors.
“Sustainable innovation is truly broadening out these years,” Sustainia Director Laura Storm said. “We are seeing how corporations are rapidly innovating and deploying new energy and resource-optimizing solutions. With this development, companies will lack behind if they do not gear towards a changed landscape, where an efficient and sustainable operation is key to long-term survival.”
Of course, there could only be 100 selections. Sustainia revealed them Monday morning at an event in Oslo, Norway. The selections are already being deployed in 142 countries. The big winner will be announced Oct. 30 at an award ceremony at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Sustainia Award is selected by the Sustainia Award Committee, chaired by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Sustainia100 is spread across 10 categories—buildings, food, fashion, transportation, information technology, education, energy, health, cities and resources.
“The global pressure on our natural resources has led to increased resource scarcity, which calls upon industries to transform their way of operating. Clever use of materials is a key innovation driver,” Storm said.
Over the next few days, we’ll take a look at all 100 companies and projects. For now, here are 10 selections that stand out from each category:
- View: Dynamic windows dim glass and save energy
- Good World Solutions: Transparency and real-time data for buyers
- Outerwall: Automated e-waste recycling kiosk
- PowWow Energy: Smart water leak detection for agriculture
- Retroficiency: Software combatting energy inefficiency in buildings
- EcoNation: Mirror-enhanced skylight with no upfront costs
- Fairphone: The ethical smartphone
- Desso: Carpets that clean the air for better indoor climates
- Newlight Technologies: Carbon-negative plastic
- Groasis: Growing trees in deserts with minimal water use
The Sustainia100 advisory board includes the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, EPEA Internationale, European Environment Agency, Inter- national Federation for Housing and Planning, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nordic Fashion Association, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, United Nations World Food Programme, University of California, Berkeley, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Foundation.
“While we don’t have the luxury of time to fix the problem of unsustainable development, we do have a wealth of readily available solutions,” said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “And with Sustainia100, we now know where to find the most inspiring of them.”