Carbon War Room’s Gigaton Award Winners Announced

The Carbon War Room, the Sir Richard Branson non-profit organization that encourages and develops market-driven climate solutions, has announced the winners of their Gigaton Awards at the Cancún Climate Summit. According to the CWR, “The Gigaton Awards seeks to bring prestige and recognition to companies showing leadership in emissions reductions and sustainable practices, thereby engendering more action. The Awards also seek to raise the profile of company actions that are actually making a difference.”

The winners this year include (by sector):

• Nike in the Consumer Discretionary sector (nominees also included Toyota, Panasonic, Disney and Sony)
• Reckitt Benckiser Group (makers of products such as Lysol, French’s Mustard and Dr. Scholl’s) in the Consumer Staples sector (nominees included Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Kimberly Clarck and General Mills)
• Suzelon in the Energy sector (nominees included Vestas, GE Wind, Goldwind, Gamesa and Siemens Wind)
• 3M in the Industrials sector (nominees included MTR Corporation, Alstom, Raytheon and Boeing)
• Vodafone Group in the Telecommunications sector (nominees included Verizon Communications and American Tower)
• French utility GDF Suez in the Utilities sector (nominees included Japan’s Chubu Electric Power, Italy’s Snam Rete Gas, Japan’s Kansai Electric Power and France’s Électricité de France)

An independent academy of business and civic leaders selected the winners based on demonstrated leadership and quantitative metrics in the areas of sustainable practices, emissions reductions, energy efficiency and climate change mitigation efforts.

Branson, the multi-billionaire adventurer, Chairman and founder of the 400+ company Virgin Group co-hosted the event, saying, “These companies demonstrate the potential the business community has in developing innovative solutions that are good for the environment and the economy. The world’s leaders need to embrace the fact that there does not have to be a trade-off between the economy and the environment, and these awards prove that.”

Branson is putting his money where his mouth is, and just launched a free web portal designed to curb carbon emissions in shipping 25% by 2020. The site,, will list the energy efficiency of nearly every ocean vessel, allowing suppliers to choose the most efficient ones for their needs. He has also committed to plow all of Virgin Air’s profits over the next decade, approximately $3 billion, toward developing alternative fuels, as well as the Virgin Earth Challenge, a $25 million prize to anyone who could demonstrate a commercially viable design to remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.

Josh Gelfand is a staff writer living in San Francisco, though he was born and raised on the freeways of Los Angeles and spent many years in San Diego. He is a living model of what can be achieved when Californians bridge the north-south chasm and come together as one. He received his MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin.

One response

  1. Maybe if Mr. Branson went back on TV again offering prizes to go green, to the shipping industry they would decide to update emission in the same dry docking as they will need to install ballast water technology.

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