Past Winners


Created in 2010 to honor founding CEF Advisory Board member C.K Prahalad, the Prahalad Award for Business Sustainability Leadership recognizes exceptional, globally significant private-sector leadership that underscores sustainability as a key driver of innovation and long-term business success.


First Movers Coalition

The First Movers Coalition, an initiative aiming to accelerate the race to net-zero, brings together cross-sector partnerships and collective action to address the decarbonization of seven major industries responsible for more than one-third of global carbon emissions. These hard-to-abate sectors, including aluminum, aviation, chemicals, cement and concrete, shipping, steel, and trucking, have proven challenging to decarbonize. Without urgent progress in clean technology innovation, there is concern their combined share of global emissions could surpass 50 percent by 2050.

“We are thrilled to honor the First Movers Coalition, and in particular the leadership of the US Special Envoy, John Kerry, and the World Economic Forum, with the 2023 C.K. Prahalad Award,” said MR Rangaswami, Founder of CEF. “Strong joint efforts such as this are needed to address the systemic and global nature of climate change and we’re proud that so many participating companies are CEF members including Amazon, Apple, Bank of America, Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Ecolab, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Salesforce, Schneider Electric, and Trane Technologies.”

Launched in November 2021 by the Office of the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and the World Economic Forum, the First Movers Coalition is a unique global public-private initiative. It has aligned and united a diverse range of players, leveraging the support of highly ambitious government partners representing over 40% of the global GDP. Collaborating with Canada, Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, the UAE, and the United Kingdom, the United States is leading the effort to create early markets for clean technologies through policy measures and private-sector engagement.

Recognizing the need for clean energy technologies that are not yet commercially competitive, the Coalition’s members commit to purchasing a portion of long-distance transportation services, and industrial materials such as aluminum, steel, and concrete, from suppliers utilizing near-zero or zero-carbon solutions, even if at a premium cost. Currently, more than 80 companies have made $12 billion in purchase commitments.

Each sector within the Coalition has established specific emission reduction goals. For instance, Coalition members in the aviation sector will replace at least 5% of conventional jet fuel demand with sustainable aviation fuels capable of reducing life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 85% or more compared to conventional jet fuels. Similarly, the shipping sector aims to power at least 5% of its deep-sea shipping with zero-emission fuels by 2030, with a target of 100% by 2040.

Furthermore, the Coalition has set ambitious commitments for companies to purchase durable and scalable carbon removal solutions by 2030, with Alphabet, Microsoft, and Salesforce leading the charge by committing a combined total of $500 million. To support its objectives, the Coalition collaborates with Breakthrough Energy, which brings together public and private partners to drive technology deployment, and Boston Consulting Group, the primary knowledge partner. Additionally, the Mission Possible Partnership mobilizes partners from leading organizations to design sectoral commitments and amplify impact through expertise and networking.

The urgency of the climate crisis demands a reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net-zero by mid-century, as determined by the latest climate science. The First Movers Coalition understands that disruptive clean technologies must be brought to the market at scale to achieve these targets. By sending a powerful demand signal, the Coalition is driving the development of technologies required for a more sustainable future.

World Economic Forum President Børge Brende added “The World Economic Forum gratefully accepts the esteemed C.K. Prahalad Award for the First Movers Coalition’s pioneering sustainability efforts. This recognition underscores our collective commitment to drive decarbonization in our global hard to abate industries. We extend sincere appreciation to our dedicated government partners and members for their instrumental collaboration in achieving this milestone, who are critical in accelerating the supply of innovative clean technologies.”


Shopify Sustainability Fund and Stripe Climate

Shopify, a leading provider of essential internet infrastructure for commerce and one of the largest corporate buyers of long-term carbon removal, launched its Sustainability Fund in September 2019. The goal of the Fund is to assist companies that are proving, scaling, and commercializing climate technologies for massive impact in the long term. CEF’s founder, MR Rangaswami, praised this strategy: “The decision to purchase carbon removal at prices well above the minimum available price as a way to kickstart the demand and spur innovation showed real foresight and courage. Shopify is truly doubling down on long-term carbon removal and the forward-thinking entrepreneurs behind it.”

The goal is to accelerate the timeline to a low-cost carbon removal market, and they are well underway. As of March 2022, Shopify has committed 32 million dollars through its Fund to carbon removal purchases from 22 entrepreneurial, tech-driven companies. Upon signing, Shopify was the largest purchaser for 17 of them, and the very first purchaser for nine. Several have gone on to raise tens of millions of dollars of capital — and grown their carbon removal capacity and customer bases exponentially — on the basis of that crucial early support.

During the same timeframe, global payments leader Stripe started blazing its own trail to help drive carbon removal solutions. In August 2019, Stripe announced its Negative Emissions Commitment, pledging at least one million dollars per year to pay, at any price, for the direct removal and permanent storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Stripe’s thesis was that early customers could help accelerate new technologies to market. By being early adopters of promising new carbon removal solutions that are small-scale and very expensive, Stripe could enable these technologies to scale more rapidly. Stripe worked with scientific experts to select carbon removal companies that store carbon permanently, don’t take up significant arable land, and have a path to being affordable at scale.

After the initial pledge, Stripe launched Stripe Climate – allowing any business on Stripe’s platform to direct a percentage of their revenue towards scaling carbon removal technologies. This program quickly became the world’s largest coalition of carbon removal buyers and today has more than 15,000 active users. At the end of 2021, Stripe had deployed $15 million in carbon removal purchases into 14 different companies, and was the first customer for 11 of them.

CEF Chair P.J. Simmons underscored the importance of these developments, pointing to the 2022 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “To reach our net zero climate goals, the IPCC says reducing emissions is not enough — we need to focus on removing existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with technologies that are science-based, verifiable, and scalable. Both Prahalad Award winners are accelerating momentum to do that, in ways that will help future-proof their businesses.”

Though Shopify and Stripe entered their carbon removal journeys separately, they quickly came to the same conclusion: that collective action would be more impactful than working alone. In April of this year they co-founded Frontier, alongside Alphabet, Meta and McKinsey Sustainability, incorporating everything they’d learned since placing their first bets on carbon removal in 2019. Frontier is an advance market commitment to put nearly a billion dollars on the table to buy carbon removal between now and 2030. The goal is to send researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors a strong demand signal that there is a future market for carbon removal.


Team of Executive Leaders from Microsoft

Four of Microsoft’s top leaders received the prestigious honor for their collaborative leadership to transform Microsoft into a carbon negative company by 2030 and to remove all of the company’s historical emissions by 2050: CEO Satya Nadella, President and Vice Chair Brad Smith, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, and Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa.

CEF Founder MR Rangaswami explained what set the team’s approach apart: “Nadella, Hood, Smith and Joppa have exhibited a remarkable level of joint ownership of this moonshot initiative – this is the first time we’ve seen a CEO/President/CFO/Environmental Sustainability coalition like this. They’ve defined a new model for what corporate-wide climate leadership looks like while sending a clear message that sustainability is core to Microsoft’s business strategy for the decades ahead.”

With this team at the helm, Microsoft is moving aggressively to advance its vision to make a positive impact globally on the climate, while proving that such steps can also be good for business. By 2025, the company will shift to 100% renewable energy for its data centers, buildings, and campuses, and it will protect more land than its operations use. By 2030, it will match 100% of its electricity consumption, 100% of the time, with zero-carbon energy purchases – and will push beyond that to actually become carbon negative: to remove more carbon from the environment than the company emits. Their approach is holistic, connecting the dots to other aspects of planetary health – including a commitment to replenish more water than the company uses – a goal known as “water positive” – and a pledge to achieve zero waste for its direct operations, products and packaging.

The team has led Microsoft to look beyond the company’s own walls to create the enabling environment for change at scale. The company has set up a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund to help accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies.

It is also building a Planetary Computer platform to help monitor, model, and manage Earth’s natural systems. Beyond that, Microsoft has co-founded a new Green Software Foundation to help reduce emissions within the software industry by 45% by 2030, working with co-founders Accenture, GitHub, and ThoughtWorks to develop new standards, tools, and leading practices.

Douglas M. Baker, Jr

CEF also celebrated the leadership of Douglas M. Baker, Jr., board chairman and former CEO of Ecolab. During his esteemed tenure as CEO from 2004 to 2021, Baker was outspoken in his effort to educate the business community about corporate responsibility and the business risks of global water scarcity and the need to account for the true value of water in financial decision making.

Baker believed business had an imperative to act to ensure the world’s future prosperity through sustainable innovation and collaboration. Under his leadership, Ecolab became one of the largest water management companies in the world and more than tripled its net sales, while focused on sustainability, water management and carbon reduction.

Under Baker’s leadership, Ecolab joined the Business Ambition for 1.5⁰C, pledging to reduce its emissions by 50% by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050, and led the way in the formation of the Water Resilience Coalition, an initiative of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate.

Baker proved that foresight about water and climate risks was critical to business success. The company helped its customers in more than 170 countries conserve 206 billion gallons of water in 2020, equivalent to the annual drinking water needs of 712 million people. And Ecolab is on track to achieve its goal of saving 300 billion gallons of water—enough for one billion people—by 2030. In 2020, Ecolab also helped customers avoid 3.5 million metric tons of GHG emissions, provide safe food for 1.3 billion people and prevent 1.8 million infections.

Baker has received several awards for his leadership: In 2019, he was named one of the 100 best-performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review for the fifth year in a row.  In 2018, he received the Deming Cup for Operational Excellence and accepted The World Environment Center’s Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development on behalf of Ecolab. In 2014, Baker was named Responsible CEO of the Year by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.

CEF’s Chair and Co-Founder P.J. Simmons expressed his appreciation for Baker: “Doug has always been a visionary leader, putting sustainability at the heart of his company’s growth strategy. He truly exemplifies the principles C.K. Prahalad espoused and offers an inspiring example of how to lead a company during these tumultuous times.”

“Water is one of the world’s most precious resources and vital to the health of society and industry,” said Baker. “I am honored to receive this award from CEF, and I accept it on behalf of the entire Ecolab team and their vision and motivation to promote responsible water use.”


Terracycle and Loop

“Loop” is being honored for forging a revolutionary, circular business model that dramatically reduces waste by transforming how companies package and deliver everyday staples. Loop offers an easy online shopping experience with a big plus: it also takes care of packaging collection and cleaning when the product has been used up, then refills and replenishes the customer’s supply. 

A growing list of the world’s biggest consumer brands are partnering on Loop. Household names including The Clorox Company, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, Danone—together with retailers Walgreens and Kroger and global logistics powerhouse UPS — are banking on Loop to give customers the products they love while helping them avoid the hassles of trash and recycling.

To start, Loop will offer about 150 well-known products — things like Tide detergent, Tropicana orange juice Häagen-Dazs ice cream and Clorox Disinfecting Wipes — all in reusable packaging, delivered right to the consumer’s door. After using the products, customers put the empty containers in a specially designed Loop tote on their doorstep, where they are picked up by UPS, cleaned and refilled, then shipped back to consumers over and over.

Participating companies have made significant investments in creating new stylish, durable packaging designs that can in some cases be reused a hundred times. If those investments prove out, they could lead to a dramatic decrease in single use plastic waste, reduce pressure on insufficient recycling infrastructure and markets, and enable recycling of certain products for the first time.  

Loop’s rollout plan is aggressive. Soon after being announced at the World Economic Forum in January 2019, a pilot of the program began rolling out in Paris and New York, with plans to expand into the London area in late 2019. Launches in Toronto, California and Tokyo are planned in conjunction with the 2020 Summer Olympics. With links to so many well-loved brands and a simple at-home collection interface, Loop can reach customers not traditionally drawn to so-called “green” commerce, leading to economies of scale that could really make a difference. Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever has described this among his company’s reasons for joining Loop, saying the consumer product giant wants “to put an end to the current ‘take-make-dispose’ culture.”

CEF’s Founder, MR Rangaswami praised TerraCycle and the leading companies who are part of Loop: “It takes courageous leadership to buck the status quo. Loop represents a bold experiment for the consumer goods industry, and we look forward to watching it unfold.”

Jim Rogers

The jury for the CK Prahalad Award also honored the legacy of James E. Rogers, former CEO of Duke Energy and a true champion of sustainability, who passed away unexpectedly in December of 2018.

Rogers led by asking those around him to envision a future they may not live to see. He famously applied what he called his “grandfather’s test” – a way to ensure that his actions would have a positive impact on future generations. His life was guided by a philosophy he called “cathedral thinking,” modeled on the builders of medieval churches who knew they would not live to see their work completed but nonetheless tirelessly devoted themselves to the legacy they were creating.

Rogers translated these values into action every day of his 25 years as a CEO in the utility industry, leading Duke Energy with vision and courage, and growing shareholder value while demonstrating fervent support for sustainable energy. Rogers is perhaps best known for being at the forefront of the electric utility industry in publicly addressing the threat of climate change.  He presented Duke Energy’s Board of Directors with a plan to “decarbonize” the company by 2050, and led Duke’s work to reduce its reliance on coal well ahead of industry peers.

Rogers was one of the first American CEOs to boldly advocate for federal policy to cap the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the United States. To that end, he helped found the U.S. Climate Action Partnership in 2007—a historically important collaboration of leading businesses and environmental groups that laid the groundwork for Congress to consider federal legislation regulating greenhouse gas emissions for the very first time.

Rogers received innumerable industry awards and Newsweek named him one of the “50 Most Powerful People in the World.” Yet as impressive as his many accomplishments were, what was especially notable was the way he wielded that power – with a view to the future, with a commitment to humanity, and with kindness and good humor always on display.

Even during his retirement he did not rest, instead turning his attention to those in need and focusing his efforts on providing rural people in low-income nations access to clean, sustainable electricity, as documented in his book, “Lighting the World: Transforming Our Energy Future by Bringing Electricity to Everyone.”

CEF Chair, P.J. Simmons, added “Jim Rogers inspired so many of us personally, and set the bar high for what exceptional sustainable private sector leadership looks like. We are honored to have the opportunity to shine a light on Jim’s extraordinary life and legacy.”


Lisa Jackson, Apple

In 2013, after serving as Administrator of the US EPA under President Obama, Lisa Jackson joined Apple to oversee the company’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment by addressing climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency, using greener materials, and inventing new ways to conserve precious resources.

As part of this work, Jackson led a company-wide effort to change how Apple sources paper for its packaging. Today, 100% of the wood fibers in Apple’s packaging is from either recycled sources or responsibly managed forests, and Apple has actively protected or created enough responsibly managed forests to cover all its packaging needs.

Apple has set ambitious goals around the design of products that are safer and better for the planet. Building on earlier commitments to avoid materials like mercury, lead, and brominated flame retardants, Apple has set a new goal to build its products using only recycled or renewable materials. The company is piloting innovative recycling techniques, like its new robot, Daisy, and it is increasing the use of recycled materials like aluminum and tin in its products. Just recently, Apple played a crucial role in accelerating the commercialization of patented technology that eliminates direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process, a key step in aluminum production. In partnership with Alcoa and Rio Tinto, and the Governments of Canada and Quebec, they will invest in future research and development, ensuring that the benefits of their innovation extend well beyond Apple’s own products.

Apple has also become a frontrunner in the transition to a clean energy economy, and has been a prominent public advocate for corporate action to address climate change. Every one of Apple’s facilities, data centers, offices, and stores in 43 countries is now powered by 100% clean energy and the company is working with suppliers around the world to bring another 4 gigawatts of new clean energy online by 2020. The company has taken positions in support of the 2015 Paris agreement and the US Clean Power Plan. In 2016, the company issued a high-profile $1.5 billion green bond–the largest ever by a U.S. corporation–and in 2017, it issued a second $1 billion bond, demonstrating how companies could lead following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.

CEF’s Founder, MR Rangaswami praised Jackson for her bold leadership: “Lisa Jackson’s work at Apple is inspiring other companies to higher levels of ambition as well. Apple’s environmental record is proof that companies don’t have to choose between doing the right thing and having a healthy bottom line.”

The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was recognized for leveraging a powerful collaboration to catalyze a seismic shift in how companies disclose their climate-related financial risks and opportunities.

The TCFD was set up by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in December 2015 under the leadership of its Chair Mark Carney to help address an important information gap in financial markets. Investors, lenders, and insurers around the world need data to properly assess companies’ exposure to climate-related risks. They also need more information on how companies are seizing opportunities in a carbon-constrained world impacted by climate change.

Under the guidance of Michael Bloomberg—and comprised of 31 leading experts from a wide range of sectors—the TCFD produced practical recommendations for disclosure that would work for a wide array of global companies. In just 18 months, the Task Force led a highly successful, multi-stakeholder process including two major public consultations and 18 outreach events involving over 1,250 participants, and in June 2017, it published its groundbreaking voluntary framework to help companies produce consistent financial disclosures.

The TCFD’s work has received enthusiastic praise from scores of C-suite executives. As of May 2018, the TCFD’s recommendations had received official support from over 275 organizations with combined market capitalizations exceeding $7 trillion and including financial firms responsible for assets of more than $81 trillion—effectively moving climate-related financial reporting into the mainstream.

The positive impacts of the TCFD are significant: better access to data overall will enhance how climate-related factors are assessed, priced, and managed by companies, investors, lenders and insurers alike. CEF Chair P.J. Simmons commended the TCFD: “The Task Force is a shining example of how much can be accomplished in a short time when collaboration is done right. We’re proud that many CEF members were part of the TCFD’s consultative process and have already seen the influence of the TCFD recommendations in how our members are responding the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.”

The C.K. Prahalad Award was created to honor the vision and life’s work of the late Dr. C.K. Prahalad, one of the world’s most influential business strategists. Towards the end of his career, Prahalad focused his enormous talent on the link between sustainability and long-term business success. In a 2009 Harvard Business Review cover story he co-authored with CEF founder MR Rangaswami, Prahalad argued that over the next decade “traditional approaches to business will collapse, and companies will have to develop innovative solutions. That will only happen when executives recognize a simple truth: sustainability equals innovation.” Prahalad was a senior adviser to CEF before his untimely death in 2010.


Urs Hölzle, Google

Hölzle was recognized for bringing about innovations and radical efficiencies in data center technology and increasing corporate purchasing of renewable energy, which have allowed Google to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A pioneer in green data center design, Hölzle’s leadership has resulted in significantly less energy used at Google data centers when compared to traditional data center designs–this is significant, because in aggregate, Google’s cloud infrastructure consumes as much capacity as the city of San Francisco daily.

Hölzle has also played a key role in Google’s ‘moonshot’ commitment to achieve zero waste to landfill for its global data center operations, diverting 86% of waste from such operations, and achieving 100% diversion rates at six data centers in 2016. He has led Google to become the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, achieving 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality for its global operations in 2017. The company has signed 20 agreements totaling 2.6 gigawatts of renewable energy since 2010, generating emissions savings equivalent to taking more than 1.2 million cars off the road.

CEF’s Founder, MR Rangaswami commended Hölzle: “To address the risks of climate change, we urgently need courageous vision and action from inside companies, as well as support from the very top. Urs has not only accelerated Google’s sustainability, he has also cut a path for other companies to follow suit.”

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA)

REBA has been awarded the C.K. Prahalad Award for demonstrating how collaboration is critical to widespread adoption of renewable energy. With an ambitious goal to facilitate and deploy 60 gigawatts of new corporate renewable energy in the U.S. by 2025, REBA has already evidenced the power of their partnership.

REBA brings Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, World Wildlife Fund’s Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles (supported by WRI), World Resources Institute’s Charge Initiative and BSR’s Future of Internet Power initiative together under one umbrella, providing a platform that meets the needs of buyers, developers, utilities, and regulators in a complex and ever-changing sector.

RMI’s Business Renewables Center is a member-based platform that streamlines and accelerates corporate purchasing of off-site, large-scale wind and solar energy. The initiative’s 200 members have collectively completed over 7.5 GW of renewable energy deals.

WWF’s Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, supported by WRI, outlines what corporate buyers want from the market to increase access to renewable energy, and engages utilities and utility regulators and policy makers to expand access in the US, Mexico, India and China. The 65 Buyers’ Principles signatories represent over 48 million megawatt hours of annual demand by 2020.

WRI’s Charge Initiative convenes companies and utilities in action-oriented partnerships to expand clean energy in China, India, the United States, and across Southeast Asia and Latin America.

BSR’s Future of Internet Power initiative brings together companies to address challenges and collaborate on solutions that will enhance the ability to procure renewable energy to power data centers. As of June 2017, more than 20 data center using companies and providers have demonstrated support for sustainable and clean energy practices through the initiative’s Corporate Colocation and Cloud Buyers’ Principles.

P.J. Simmons, Chair of CEF, lauded the REBA partners for their vision, ambition and achievement: “REBA demonstrates what is possible when diverse stakeholders put their egos aside and work together to solve huge problems. The four partnering organizations are modeling what a successful collaboration looks like. We’re proud that twenty-six CEF member companies are already part of REBA, and extend this award to them as well.”

Special 2017 Honorary Award
Dr. John B. Goodenough

CEF extended an honorary C.K. Prahalad Award to Dr. John B. Goodenough. Beginning in the 1950s with the magnetic element that enabled the first random-access memory (RAM) of the digital computer, Goodenough’s pioneering work helped bring to market the first rechargeable lithium ion battery, essentially launching the wireless revolution. Most recently, at the age of 94, he led a collaborative effort with M. Helena Braga of the University of Porto, Portugal and The University of Texas at Austin to develop a potentially game-changing battery cell. Uniquely cheap, lightweight, and safe, it is designed to be charged faster and last longer than current batteries allow–breakthroughs that could overcome the technological hurdles that have slowed down widespread adoption of electric vehicles and stationary energy storage. Another advantage is that the battery cells can be made from earth-friendly materials, substituting widely available sodium for lithium.

Goodenough holds faculty positions in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UT Austin. He is the author of eight books and more than 800 journal articles, and he is the recipient of numerous national and international honors. Commending Goodenough for the award, CEF’s Rangaswami reflected on his mentor C.K. Prahalad’s strong belief in the power of imagination to guide executive leadership and spur innovation, “John Goodenough is evidence of imagination being put to work for the greater good. We’re thrilled to recognize his lifetime of achievements and are hopeful that his latest discovery will have major implications for the future of sustainable battery storage.”

The C.K. Prahalad Award was created to honor the vision and life’s work of the late Dr. C.K. Prahalad. Toward the end of his career, Prahalad focused his enormous talent on the link between sustainability and long-term business success. In a 2009 Harvard Business Review cover story he co-authored with CEF founder MR Rangaswami, Prahalad argued that over the next decade “traditional approaches to business will collapse, and companies will have to develop innovative solutions. That will only happen when executives recognize a simple truth: sustainability equals innovation.” Prahalad was a senior adviser to CEF before his untimely death in 2010.


Joe Kaeser, Siemens 

Joe Kaeser has been outspoken about the need for the private sector to lead the charge on climate change mitigation, and not wait for an international treaty or new regulations. In a New York Times Op-Ed he boldly stated, “We hope to demonstrate to other companies that cutting your carbon footprint is not only possible, but profitable.”

Under his leadership, Siemens has pledged to cut its own global carbon footprint 50% by 2020 and achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. The company is also leading the way on clean energy by increasing use of distributed energy systems at its own sites, combining solar panels, wind and highly efficient gas turbines with intelligent energy management, smart grids and energy storage solutions, and buying clean power.

Special 2016 Honorary Awards
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

In her role as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres successfully rebuilt momentum towards a positive, universally-agreed global climate resolution, which was accomplished at the conclusion of the twenty-first Conference of the Parties, COP21, where 195 nations unified to adopt the Paris Agreement.

In 2010, Figueres was appointed as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change in the wake of the failed Copenhagen climate conference of 2009. She went on to lead increasingly successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014—all of which paved the way to the Paris 2015 negotiations.

Working tirelessly with allies across sectors, she rallied major companies behind a strong agreement in Paris, backed by meaningful actions including investments in clean energy, avoided deforestation, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and innovative green technology.

Douglas Tompkins, Founder, The North Face and Espirit Holdings

Doug Tompkins has been selected for a posthumous C.K. Prahalad Award, following his untimely death in Patagonia National Park last year. Founder of The North Face and Esprit Holdings, Tompkins devoted his life to conservation. His passion and vision resulted in the protection of roughly 2.2 million acres of land throughout Chile and Argentina including Patagonia National Park. CEF was fortunate to witness Tompkins’ work as a part of its 2015 Sustainability Leadership Development Trip to the Park, led by Tompkins’ life-long friend and conservation partner, Rick Ridgeway.

Ridgeway presented the honor in a moving tribute to Tompkin’s many accomplishments. Tompkins founded the Foundation for Deep Ecology, a private charitable foundation that has made more than 1500 grants (totaling more than $52 million) to nonprofit organizations working to protect wilderness and wildlife, promote sustainable agriculture, and more. Doug also founded The Conservation Land Trust, Conservacion Patagonica, and Fundacion Pumalin.


David Crane, NRG Energy

Crane was honored for his visionary leadership since taking the reins at NRG in 2003, positioning the company for long-term success, through a business and innovation model guided by sustainability. He has led NRG’s transformation from a regional wholesale generation business to a national, Fortune 200 diversified energy company –now the nation’s largest competitive power generator, and one of the country’s largest owners and operators of renewable generation facilities.


Robert B. Carter, Executive Vice President, Information Services/CIO, FedEx Corporation

Robert B. Carter was recognized for guiding the digital transformation of FedEx through technologies that improve data management operational efficiency, helping the company lower costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carter’s accolades include leading his team—in concert with the FedEx Marketing team—in the development and international rollout of SenseAware®, a service that combines sensors and a web platform to track the conditions of shipments around the world, enhancing efficiency. With his leadership, FedEx has spearheaded groundbreaking efforts to reduce energy use and emissions from IT operations. These include a LEED Certified Enterprise Datacenter in Colorado Springs that is among the most energy-efficient in the United States, and systems that help FedEx operations improve routing efficiencies for package pickup and delivery. Carter also pushed FedEx to use Bloom solid-oxide energy cells to power a hub in Oakland, California. Along with a large solar array, the Oakland hub is nearly “grid neutral” for electricity consumption.

Global Water Challenge (GWC)

GWC, a coalition of leading companies and civil society partners with a presence in over 200 countries, was honored for its progress in inspiring companies and other donors to protect water resources, deliver clean water access, and provide sanitation while sparking social and economic development in areas that need it most. As a result of GWC’s efforts, 418,000 people and nearly 500,000 children have school-based water and sanitation programs in Kenya, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Mexico; while an additional 32,000 now have safe sanitation. GWC identifies and supports scalable programs that employ innovative financing models to achieve sustainable water and sanitation services in the communities they serve.

Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio, Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft

TJ DiCaprio was recognized for being the chief architect and driving force behind Microsoft’s internal carbon fee program. The program charges business units for their carbon emissions from travel and electricity use, then reinvests the proceeds in energy efficiency, clean energy, and carbon offset projects. With a price on carbon, managers are seeing emissions reflected in their budgets for the first time, creating incentives to become even more efficient. To date, the program has funded 20 offset projects across the globe in places like Mongolia, Peru and Turkey; and has also helped fund a 20-year power purchase agreement for 110 megawatts of wind energy in Texas. The program has enabled Microsoft to achieve carbon neutrality in fiscal year 2013 and become the second largest user of renewable energy in the United States. DiCaprio has since written the “Carbon Fee Playbook,” a five-step guide for other companies to implement their own internal carbon fee programs.

Video tribute to the 2014 winners


Vidal Garza Cantú, FEMSA Foundation

Vidal Garza Cantú, Director of the FEMSA Foundation, was recognized for being a major force in helping companies understand that well-functioning natural ecosystems are a business and economic imperative, not a matter of philanthropy. Under Garza’s leadership, the FEMSA Foundation helped launch the Latin American Water Funds Partnership, to conserve and restore forests and grasslands around watersheds, safeguarding their ability to offer services such as water retention and filtration without the need for costly and inefficient manmade alternatives. Garza’s charismatic and passionate leadership–coupled with his hardheaded business experience–is influencing companies worldwide to think about the true business value of nature.

Hannah Jones, Nike

As head of Nike’s Sustainable Business & Innovation team, Hannah Jones leads a global team responsible for enabling Nike’s sustainable growth. Her numerous accomplishments include leading Nike to implement the Considered Design standard, which marries performance and innovation with sustainability to create products with a lower environmental footprint, and rolling out its Sustainable Manufacturing & Sourcing Index (SMSI), an innovation that puts environmental and labor metrics on equal footing with traditional supply chain measures of performance. A pioneering champion of transparency, collaboration and open innovation, Jones supported the creation of the LAUNCH 2020 partnership with NASA, USAID and the US State Department to foster and scale sustainable innovation, among other pioneering initiatives.

Kurt Kuehn, UPS

Kurt Kuehn, The Chief Financial Officer of UPS, was honored for being one of the first prominent CFOs in the world to articulate why sustainability is fundamentally linked to a company’s financial success. Kuehn has been vocal in public forums about how sustainability can reduce costs, mitigate risks, generate new revenue opportunities, fuel innovation, and help companies attract and retain top talent. For over a decade, Kuehn has shaped UPS’s sustainability strategy, including their very first sustainability report in 2002. As a CFO, his vocal, visible sustainability leadership is one of the surest signs that UPS is truly building sustainability into its DNA.

Watch the Video Tribute to the 2013 Winners


Neil Hawkins, Dow Chemical

Neil Hawkins, VP of Sustainability and Environment, Health & Safety at The Dow Chemical Company, was recognized for his long track record of exceptional sustainability leadership within and outside of his company. His most recent standout achievement was forging a breakthrough collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to help Dow and other companies recognize, value, and incorporate nature’s services into global business goals, decisions and strategies. Watch video of Neil Hawkins acceptance speech.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition was honored for its pioneering efforts to unite the world’s apparel and footwear companies around a shared vision to reduce environmental harm and have a positive impact on communities. The Coalition is developing an Index to measure the environmental and social performance of apparel and footwear products across the value chain. Since its 2011 launch, the Coalition has grown to include companies representing over one-third of the world’s apparel and footwear industry. Watch video of Jason Pearson acceptance speech on behalf of the Coalition.

Paul Polman, Unilever

Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman was recognized for matching a bold vision of “long-term capitalism” with equally impressive action. The company’s Sustainable Living Plan sets out ambitious goals for 2020 that build on a long history of commitment and action on corporate sustainability issues, including: halving the company’s overall environmental imprint, helping over one billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, and sourcing 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably. Watch video of CEO Paul Polman’s acceptance speech.

Watch the Video Tribute to the 2012 Winners


Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent was honored for driving Coca-Cola’s international leadership on critical global environmental issues, particularly in helping catalyze 450 members of the Consumer Goods Forum to pledge net zero deforestation by 2020 in procurement. Video and background


Hector Nunez, Walmart Brasil

Walmart Brasil CEO Hector Nunez was recognized for his leading his company’s galvanizing sustainability supply chain efforts that could be decisive in protecting Amazon ecosystems. Video and background.


Sign up for CEF Newsletter
* = required field