Mike Biddle Wins The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2012
Winners selected for the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2012
How do we achieve a sustainable society? That is the question that people spontaneously ask themselves when discussing recycling issues and sustainable development.
That was the starting point when the jury of the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development nominated the 2012 Laureate. In comparison with nature’s eco-cycle in which waste products are of value in new processes, society’s current use of materials is unsustainable! As an example, only 5 per cent of plastics in the world are recycled. Entrepreneurship and new innovative solutions are required to break this trend and instead create functioning eco-cycles.
Against this background, awarded this year the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development between two persons, one American and one Swedish, which in different ways successfully working to close the loops.
The prize is worth a million Swedish Kronor and is divided equally between:
• Dr. Michael Biddle, Richmond, USA, combining technical expertise and entrepreneurial brilliance in his work that includes recycled plastics.
• Björn Söderberg, Stockholm and Nepal, which builds and develops responsible companies in Nepal in the field of sustainable waste recycling
Jury chairman John Holmberg commented on 2012 winners:
- Nature is characterized by ingenious closed systems, where waste products are new inputs. In comparison, industrial society linear material flows infernal ineffective - they lead to resource depletion, waste problems and energy waste. That, as the year's two winners done, find thoughtful solutions to end the cycles are necessary and possible.
Gothenburg Prize was founded in 1999 by the City along with several companies with the aim to "stimulate the continued development and recognize strategic work of sustainable development, nationally and internationally."
The prize is awarded in collaboration between the City of Gothenburg, Västra Götaland and 13 the following companies: Andra AP-Fonden, Carl Bennet AB, Christan Berner Invest AB, Elanders AB, Eldan Recycling, Folksam, Handelsbanken, Kooperativa Förbundet, Nordea, PEAB, SEB, DB Schenker AB and SKF.
This year's prize is the thirteenth in order and will be awarded at a ceremony in Gothenburg on December 4.
2012 winner - a presentation:
Dr Michael Biddle started MBA Polymers in his garage in 1992, shortly after completing his chemistry doctorate. He wanted to prove that plastics from complex waste streams can be recycled into high-quality raw material. He developed techniques for separating and refining plastic waste to produce attractive quality-assured raw materials that replace new oil-based plastics. The business has since grown from concept into large-scale industrial production in the USA, Europe and China.
Dr Biddle is awarded the prize for combining deep technical expertise and entrepreneurial brilliance with a drive to close the loop. His solutions contribute to reducing waste and saving the Earth’s non-renewable resources. Dr Biddle inspires other entrepreneurs to develop innovative hi-tech solutions in the waste sector.
Björn Söderberg, founder of the Fair Enterprise Network, builds up and develops responsible companies in Nepal in the area of sustainable waste recycling. At just 19, Björn Söderberg went to Nepal as a volunteer, where he encountered both poverty and a river full of refuse. Where many others see problems, Björn Söderberg sees opportunities and potential. The refuse was a resource when starting his first company, Watabaran, which manufactures paper from waste, as well as in his latest company, Shubha Briquettes Pvt Ltd, which manufactures briquettes from industrial and factory waste.
The companies combine profitable business activity with the basic values of ethics, democracy and eco-awareness, contributing in this way to sustainable development.
Björn Söderberg is awarded the prize for both creating jobs and contributing to an increased eco-cycle approach through his entrepreneurship. He inspires others to see the potential of eco-aware entrepreneurship for solving social problems.
John Holmberg, Professor and Vice President at Chalmers University in Gothenburg.
Other jury members:
Göran Carstedt, president of The Natural Step and previously held senior positions in Ikea and Volvo.
Elin Eriksson, Chief of the Swedish Environmental Research Institute of unit products, processes and organizations for sustainable development.
Lotta Goethe, CEO of the company Ecoplan.
Johanna Stahl, editor of the Camino, a magazine for sustainable living.
Johan Trouvé, president of the West Swedish Chamber of Commerce.
Annika Ahnberg, former MP and former agriculture minister.
2011: Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Tigray Project, an initially local initiative aimed at small farmers in northern Ethiopia.
They have both contributed in different ways to the work in Africa to allow sustainable farming to become the engine of social progress.
2010: Ken Sherman, USA, and Randall Arauz, Costa Rica.
To both, in different ways, contributed strongly to solutions for a sustainable relationship with the sea.
2009: Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Kenya, Enrique Peñalosa, Colombia, Soren Hermansen, Denmark.
They have contributed to solutions to create more sustainable cities and regions, environmental and social.
2008: Theo Colborn, USA, Margot Wallstrom, European, Jan Ahlbom and Ulf Duus, Sweden.
2007: Al Gore, the United States.
His efforts to raise awareness about global warming and thereby creating the conditions to stop the climate crisis.