The Nobel Sustainability Trust Foundation (NST), a Zurich-based foundation led by Dr Michael Nobel and established by four members of the Nobel family, convened its second annual summit in Paris, France, at Palais Brogniart on November 22. Summit proceedings, focused this year on “Energy and Water”, were broadcast worldwide over social media.
The keynote speaker was British scientist Professor Stanley Whittingham, director of the Institute for Materials Research at the State University of New York at Binghamton. Whittingham was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside Akira Yoshino (Japan) and John B Goodenough (USA) “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”
A principal purpose of this year’s summit, the initial one having been held in Bergen, Norway, in 2021, was the presentation by the Board of Directors of the Nobel Sustainability Trust Foundation of the Medal for Outstanding Contribution in Sustainability.
The two recipients, from Asia and North America, respectively, were Dr. Bruno Wu of Beijing, China, founder of the World Carbon Neutrality Council, and Mr. Collin O´Mara of Reston, Virginia, USA, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.
The NST Directors also awarded a Special Recognition Letter to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for outstanding contributions to advancing carbon neutrality.
The Nobel Sustainability Trust Foundation, founded by the then-chairman of the Swedish Nobel family Gustaf Nobel and family members Michael, Philip and Peter under the name of “The Nobel Charity Trust” in 2007, was given its present name in 2011 to more accurately represent its role and activities.
Its board of trustees today includes five members of the Nobel family. The NST logo and The Sustainability Award are trademarked in the EU and worldwide. The NST is independent of the Nobel Foundation that awards the Nobel prizes established by Alfred Nobel. It reflects the wishes of the five Nobel family members currently serving as trustees to have a new prize associated with the Nobel name devoted to sustainable development.
At his introductory presentation of the Paris Summit 2022, NST chairman Michael Nobel said the annual “Sustainable Development Award” will focus on applied science and recognize outstanding sustainable development projects around the world, including in the fields of new energy, new materials, water, health, agriculture, IT and artificial intelligence.
He noted that future award winners would be selected by a top jury organized by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, one of the world’s leading institutes of technology.
This year’s awards and recognition letter were presented at the Paris Summit by Bertie Ahern, co-chair of the Interaction Council of 40 Former Heads of State and Government and former prime minister of Ireland.
The NST cited the following data in support of the Recognition Letter to China:
From 2012 to 2021, China’s average annual energy consumption growth rate of 3% supported an average economic growth of 6.5%, and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP have dropped by 34.4% compared to 2012, which is equivalent to a reduction of 3.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The proportion of coal consumption dropped from 65.8% in 2014 to 56% in 2021, with an average annual decline of 1.4 percentage points—the fastest decline in history.
By the end of 2021, China’s non-fossil energy accounted for 16.6% of its total energy output, while its cumulative installed capacity of new energy has reached 1.12 billion kilowatts, with hydropower, wind power, and photovoltaic power generation reaching or exceeding 300 million kilowatts, ranking first in the world.
China’s renewable energy installed capacity accounts for one-third of the world’s. More than 50% of the world’s wind power equipment and more than 85% of the world’s photovoltaic equipment components come from China. The cumulative investment in renewable energy has reached 380 billion US dollars, ranking first in the world.
China’s forest stock is also increasing. In 2021, China’s forest coverage rate will reach 24.02%, and its forest stock volume will reach 19.493 billion cubic meters, making it the country with the largest increase in forest resources in the world. China will plant 70 billion more trees in the next decade.
As of June 2022, the number of new energy vehicles in China has reached 10 million, accounting for more than half of the global market share.
In support of the award to Dr Bruno Wu, the NST said:
He is a forward-looking, global and innovative entrepreneur active in the investment and media industries, and has served as co-chairman and CEO of Sun Seven Stars Investment Group since 2009.
Dr Wu has a long-standing commitment to global sustainability, having founded the World Carbon Neutral Council in 2021 with several former heads of state, including Mr. Bertie Ahern.
The Council is dedicated to the global coordination of carbon neutral standards for ESG and green finance. In 2022, Dr. Wu co-founded the soon-to-be-operational Marine Carbon Assets Trading Platform with the High North Group in Norway.
GCN, a company founded by Dr Wu, is a global leader in innovative technology in the field of carbon-neutral technology. Its vision is to realize and accelerate the transformation of commercial transportation from fossil fuels to next-generation green power to achieve carbon neutrality.
Medal recipient Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest wildlife conservation organization in the United States, was awarded the medal for his many years of sustained efforts in environmental and animal conservation and his contributions to watershed restoration.
The National Wildlife Federation has made significant contributions to urban development and the conservation of animals in their natural habitats, saving endangered species and forestalling climate change.
O’Mara understands the need for nature-based solutions to address climate risks and carbon sequestration. He fought for resiliency programs, bolstering coastal lands and ecosystem restoration on a large scale to protect watersheds and ensure communities are safe.
As a direct result of his advocacy, nearly US$1 billion was allocated for coastal restoration and resilience investments as well as aquatic ecosystem restoration efforts across the United States, including a historic effort to restore the Everglades in Florida.