Governments Under Carbon War Room Spotlight
British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, co-founder of the Carbon War Room, announced (not on April Fool’s Day!) new awards for the best and worst performing countries on climate change action. The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organisation that promotes business solutions to climate change, is adding the new awards to its existing, high-profile Gigaton Awards to spur government action.
By Jenny Marusiakin eco-bsiness.com (1 April 2011)
British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, co-founder of the Carbon War Room, announced on Wednesday (not on April Fool’s Day!) new awards for the best and worst performing countries on climate change action.
The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organisation that promotes business solutions to climate change, is adding the new awards to its existing, high-profile Gigaton Awards to spur government action.
Gigaton Awards are given annually to companies who deliver the best measurable results on reduction of carbon emissions through energy efficiency and best sustainability practices within their industry. The goal is to challenge entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers to take bold, innovative steps to stabilize the climate.
Sir Branson’s announcement extended that challenge to national governments.
“Businesses have to fulfill their promises. When they do they inspire others, but when they don’t they stifle growth. In this way, countries are no different,” said Sir Branson.
The top country award will be presented to the country deemed to have made the most progress in setting and acting on carbon emission targets, and on implementing policies that encourage businesses to take carbon reduction measures.
Aimed at exposing the worst performing countries, the “Melting Glacier Award” will go to the country that has made the least headway in implementing effective carbon reduction policies.
The awards are similar to those handed out by NGO Climate Action Network (CAN) at the annual UN climate change summits to countries who perform worst during each day’s negotiations at UN climate change conferences.
Started in 1999 in Germany, ‘Fossil of the Day’ awards are determined by CAN at the end of each day’s talks and presented by local activists at ‘winning’ embassies in capital cities around the world.
Chief executive of Carbon War Room Jigar Shah said, “This new category sends a clear message to the world’s leaders that there does not have to be a trade-off between the economy and the environment. Citizens and businesses cannot reap the benefits of climate wealth unless the right conditions are created.”
This year’s Gigaton Awards ceremony will take place on December 3rd at the World Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa and will coincide with the United Nations climate change summit.
The World Climate Summit, a forum that brings together businesses, policy-makers and financial experts to improve actions on climate change, is working with Carbon War Room to produce the awards. The World Climate Summit is organised by UK-registered company World Climate Ltd.
Winners will be selected by an independent panel of judges, comprised of business and civic leaders, according to both quantitative and qualitative criteria.
The first Gigaton Awards were presented during the United Nations talks on climate change held in Cancun in December. Six awards were given to companies from across six different sectors. Recipients included Suzlon, 3M and Nike.
Until now, Gigaton Awards were given only to corporations. This year marks the first year that countries will be selected.
The encouragement for countries on climate policy is timely. In December, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), released a statement urging national leaders to follow through with promises regarding climate change policies.
“In Cancún, governments renewed their trust in each other, but to succeed fully they need to press boldly ahead with what they have agreed. Implementation is the most effective avenue to harness the support of business and civil society, both of which are critical,” said Ms. Figueres.
Carbon War Room chief executive Jigar Shah told Eco-Business that given the uncertainties around oil and commodity prices, there is a real benefit to Asian economies to pursue gigaton scale reductions through energy efficiency, energy diversification, and proper management of forests.
He added that those reductions are difficult to implement because the current process around deploying infrastructure favor familiar technologies over the most cost effective technologies.
Countries that successfully overcome this barrier through innovative policy can serve as a positive example to Asian governments. “The Gigaton awards will highlight countries that have mined this potential for the betterment of their economies,” he said.
Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization that harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change, The Gigaton Throwdown, and the World Climate Summit today announced that the 2011 Gigaton Awards will go deeper than business evaluations to include a country specific category.
In just its second year, the Gigaton Awards expands its arena by not only recognizing pioneering companies that inspire gigaton change through their delivery in carbon reduction, but by also celebrating the best and exposing the worst countries—based on actual progress against promises and baselines as well as progressive business policies.
“Although this will be a fun event, there is definitely a serious side to it,” said Sir Richard Branson, Co-Founder of the Carbon War Room. “Businesses have to fulfill their promises. When they do they inspire others, but when they don’t they stifle growth. In this way, countries are no different.”
Winners will be selected by an independent Academy, comprised of business and civic leaders, according to both quantitative and qualitative criteria. The Academy will select a winner for the country that has made the best overall progress in both reducing carbon emissions and using policy to stimulate the right conditions for business to create climate wealth. The country with the least progress, however, will be awarded the “Melting Glacier Award”.
“This new category sends a clear message to the world’s leaders that there does not have to be a trade-off between the economy and the environment. Citizens and businesses cannot reap the benefits of climate wealth unless the right conditions are created.” said Jigar Shah, CEO of Carbon War Room.
The 2011 Gigaton Awards ceremony will take place during the United Nations Climate Summit in South Africa on December 3 at the World Climate Summit, Southern Sun Hotel Elangeni, Durban.
Last year the Awards recognized individual companies across six major sectors for their leadership in emissions reductions and sustainable practices. A pool of 28 nominees across six major sectors was selected based on quantitative data indicating emissions reductions on an annual basis. The six sectors included consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, industrials, telecommunications and utilities. The 2010 Gigaton Award winners included:
◦NIKE for its energy savings program aimed at reducing its global greenhouse gas emissions,
◦Reckitt Benckiser Group for demonstrating its leadership in mitigating risk from climate change and sustainable practices,
◦Suzlon for its achievement in managing its emissions and overall sustainability milestones,
◦3M for its leadership in improving energy efficiency and sustainable practices,
◦Vodafone Group for its new business which provides carbon reducing connections, and
◦GDF Suez for its demonstrated leadership by emitting among the lowest CO2 per KWh produced in Europe.
The Awards are based on the Gigaton Throwdown project, launched in 2007, at the Clinton Global Initiative by Sunil Paul. The project encourages entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers to grow companies that stabilize the climate.
About the Carbon War Room
The Carbon War Room harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change. The War Room’s unique approach focuses on bringing together successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, policy experts, researchers, and thought leaders to focus on market-driven solutions. For more information, visit http://www.carbonwarroom.co
About World Climate Summit
The World Climate Summit is a new, open and collaborative framework for business, finance and government leaders to accelerate solutions to climate change until 2020. It is a global platform facilitating large-scale collaboration between businesses, financiers, philanthropists and governments on regional, national and global solutions to climate change. This annual summit will run in parallel to the UNFCCC, with the inaugural one at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. For more information, visit www.wclimate.com
About the Gigaton Throwdown Initiative
The Gigaton Throwdown Initiative inspires companies, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and investors to think big about solutions to the climate crisis. Founded by Sunil Paul in 2007, it sponsors research and awards to educate and inspire the private sector to achieve climate stability. For more information visit www.gigatonthrowdown.org