Abu Dhabi,17 Jan. 2012 (WAM) - His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, today presented the prestigious 2012 Zayed Future Energy Prize to 3 winners and 2 runners up at the awards ceremony held in Emirates Palace.
His Highness said: "The Zayed Future Energy Prize has become a beacon of light, stimulating thinkers and creators while encouraging the world to accelerate innovation in renewable energy and sustainability. This Prize is a clear manifestation of the vision of the late founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - who placed a priority on investing in human capital and the preservation of our natural resources for generations to come." His Highness added: "Encouraging these innovators allows us keep them motivated, and as such, ensures that our communities keep benefiting from their inventions. In light of the challenges facing the world today - be it energy security or safeguarding our natural resources - These innovators offer their concerted efforts. The United Arab Emirates, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the Nation - May God protect him, is committed to exerting every effort towards encouraging such ambitious initiatives aimed at improving our collective quality of life." He added: We congratulate the winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, and encourage them all to continue in their efforts towards the creation of innovative solutions - impacting communities around the world. These are the ambassadors of innovation, the ambassadors of our Prize - these are the people who spread hope and aspiration and encourage the next generation of innovators.
We would also like to thank the members of the evaluation committees and the members of the Jury who have vastly contributed towards identifying tonight's winners and towards helping the Prize become a hub for innovations and innovators from around the world." The Prize total of US$3.5 million was awarded in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) '&' Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) category to the UK's Carbon Disclosure Project whilst India's Orb Energy and Environmental Defence Fund of the US were first and second runners-up respectively in the same category. Dr Ashok Gadgil from the US won the Lifetime Achievement award while French company Schneider Electric received a Recognition Award in the Large Corporations category.
President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland, Chairman of the Prize's Jury, said: "I am privileged to be a part of this platform and pay tribute to the leadership of Abu Dhabi for not only establishing the Prize but also for its profound message. It is extraordinary that a country such as the United Arab Emirates can come forward in this way; the people of Abu Dhabi should be very proud of this prize." The ceremony which marks the fourth year of the Prize commenced with an inspirational video tribute to the late founding father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan.
The video tribute was followed by a segment on the global ripple effect generated by the winners of the Prize who exemplify the wide-reaching and influential nature of the Prize itself.
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: "It is our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Zayed Al Nahyan who 40 years ago, began his journey of instilling in us the importance of building bridges, instigating dialogue and forging friendships around the world and it is our leadership today that continues this vision." Dr Al Jaber attributed the increasing growth of the prize to its agility and ability to adapt to the fast moving dynamic sector, adding "It is the directives given to us by General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of further enhancing the prize to expand our reach that has enabled us to reach innovators from around the globe." He commended the finalists for 2012, adding: "These are people that had the foresight to recognize that investing in the future is based on long term vision and the ability to innovate the technologies that the world so urgently needs." In the SME '&' NGO category, Carbon Disclosure Project was awarded US$1.5 million, while Orb Energy was named first runner-up with a cash prize of US$1 million and Environmental Defense Fund took away US$500,000 as the second runner-up.
All three finalists excelled in demonstrating clear impact through their work in disseminating solutions to further knowledge, creating awareness, as well as developing policies and technologies in renewable energy and sustainability.
Dr Ashok Gadgil, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, received US$500,000 for his pioneering efforts as one of the leading modern inventors in the US for the Darfur stove.
Recipient of the Large Corporations award, Schneider Electric, received a recognition award from the Prize.
Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman, Carbon Disclosure Project, awarded for its pioneering use of market-based tools to solve environmental issues, from cap and trade approach to acid rain pollution said: "We are delighted and honored to be recognized by the Zayed Future Energy Prize for the work we have done at the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Like the prize itself, CDP is committed to accelerating solutions that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and water scarcity. Winning this prize is a huge achievement and will help CDP to more rapidly catalyze change across the global economic system to prevent dangerous climate change, protect our natural resources and create long-term prosperity." Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr Gadgil, who received the prize for his sustainable humanitarian work in Darfur - providing energy efficient cooking stoves known as Berkeley-Darfur stoves, cutting the need for firewood by 55%, said: "Being selected the winner for the Zayed Future Energy Prize is a great honor and tremendous validation of my lifelong passion and efforts for energy innovation and sustainability.
"Looking at the list of past prize winners and runners up - some of whose work I know well - I am impressed with the energy and ingenuity of this group, and I hope that we can work together, and inspire many others, to advance the aim of the Zayed Future Energy Prize - energy sustainability for the planet." Dr Gadgil further added: "Winning the Zayed Future Energy Prize deepens my commitment to energy innovation for sustainability. Together with my colleagues and co-workers, I will continue to advance the research, design, testing, and scale-up of fuel-efficient low-emission stoves for about three billion people (mostly women) that use biomass for cooking." On receiving the award, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, President and Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Electric, who won for their work towards making energy safe, reliable and efficient said: "The world is in urgent need of innovative solutions to create a new, sustainable energy future. The UAE's commitment towards sustainable development, which takes inspiration from the vision of the UAE's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Abu Dhabi's efforts in this domain are a decisive first step towards meeting and solving the global energy challenge." Members of the Jury of the Zayed Future Energy Prize present at the ceremony included His Excellency Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland and Chairman of the Jury; Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar; Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation, and Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund.
Jury member, actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, who could not attend, sent a video message to the audience: "Greetings, I wish I could be with all of you tonight to honor this year's exceptional winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, but unfortunately my schedule won't allow me.
"It has been an honor this year to join the esteemed group of jury members, who together represent some of the world's leading thinkers on the environment and on breakthrough energy technologies.
"The Prize serves two key purposes, First it encourages and acknowledges cutting edge innovators in our society, driving them to further breakthroughs. And at the same time the Prize raises much-needed public awareness about the clean energy solutions available to us and how they hold the key to preserving and protecting our planet for generations to come.
"Participating in the selection process and seeing just how many companies, individuals and organizations are making significant contributions towards a clean energy future gives me real hope that the transformation has begun. And all of us are part of it.
"Thank you and congratulations again," DiCaprio concluded.
Tennis Grand Slam champion and education advocate Andre Agassi, and Dr Susan Hockfield, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), also members of the ZFEP jury panel, were also unable to attend.
The awards ceremony culminated a stringent year-long, four-stage process. Nominations for the Zayed Future Energy Prize were launched in May 2011 through a globally targeted campaign. In August, at the close of nominations, the Prize had received a record 1,103 submissions of which 425 were submitted by September, 2011.
In the first stage of the evaluation process, an independent research and analysis firm conducted a diligent examination of each candidate's application. During the second stage, a Review Committee met on 23-24 October to evaluate each candidate and culled the numbers to a select 33 candidates across all categories using a scoring matrix based on the Prize's four criteria.
In the third stage of the judging process from 13-14 November, a Selection Committee comprising leading experts in the field of renewable energy and sustainability evaluated the shortlisted entries. Submissions scoring the highest made it to the fourth and final round. The finalists included three candidates for the Large Corporations category, three candidates for the Lifetime Achievement Award and seven candidates who could win first, second and third prize for the SME '&' NGO category.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize is awarded annually to large corporations, individuals and SMEs and NGOs that have made significant contributions to the future of energy, climate change and sustainability. The 2013 edition of the awards will feature the newly instituted Global High School Prize to inspire a new generation of leaders and innovators.