(Geneva) – The former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announces today that he will serve as Honorary Chair for the Sustainia Award alongside EU Commissioner Connie Hedeggard, IPPC Chairman Dr. Rajenda K. Pachauri and former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Award is part of a new initiative to develop the world’s first realistic model of a sustainable world in 2020 – and identify the companies and persons who can make it real.
As long as we can’t see or feel what a sustainable society is, we will never succeed in convincing decision makers to make the changes necessary. The sustainable private and public solutions must be recognized and scaled up – and we need a tangible idea of how it will improve quality of life for people and communities around the world.
This is the rationale behind a new, ambitious award and collaboration – “Sustainia” – launched today in Geneva, Switzerland. The initiative is led by former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is joined by three of the world’s most prominent sustainability leaders:
- European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard
- Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri
- Former Prime Minister of Norway and Former Director General of WHO, Gro Harlem Brundtland, who founded the global sustainability agenda 20 years ago at the first Rio conference in 1992 on sustainable development
“Being a champion in body building, in movies or in politics, I learned that the key to success is people power – motivating and inspiring everyone to be a part of the solution, not just part of the problem,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.
“The Sustainia initiative and the awards that recognize innovative people and technologies can help our campaign to make communities healthier, wealthier, and more sustainable for generations to come.”
“Sustainia” is a virtual model of the world we could create if we implemented ready and available solutions to our existing cities, homes, energy systems and transportation. Developers have started the process of building Sustainia. In the coming months, everyone with an internet access can visit, inhabit and help build the new world on a virtual construction site.
The vision of Sustainia is presented in the book “Guide to Sustainia”, which was developed by Scandinavian think tank Monday Morning in a collaborative effort with 20 global companies (including Microsoft, GE, DNV, Philips Lighting, DONG Energy, Tetra Pak, Cisco and others) and experts. Since the launch in October 2011, a consortium of Scandinavian companies and founding partners (DONG Energy, Realdania, DNV and Novo Nordisk), UN Global Compact and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new climate initiative R 20 – Regions for Climate Action – has seen the potential of further developing Sustainia into a new global innovation and communication platform.
The key elements in the collaboration between Sustainia and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s R20 initiative consist of the following:
- To Identify, Design, Implement, Measure, Report and Verify the actions undertaken by regions and their positive impacts for a sustainable world.
- On an annual basis, to identify the most successful sustainable solutions and award the solution with the most potential to be implemented and disseminated.
- The establishment of a new powerful global forum for ambitious action and commitment to sustainable development that will provide a new innovative and creative annual platform for gathering global leaders.
Sustainia will be presented to world leaders in June this year, at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, alongside an inspiration catalogue – “Sustainia100” – containing 100 concrete solutions and technologies that will help make “Sustainia” real.
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
“The era of talk is over. It is time for action – and the companies, institutions and persons who represent green solutions are the new breed of action heroes whose efforts we should celebrate and encourage.”
UN Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell:
“Sustainia is a clear articulation of “the future we want” and aligns well with the message the UN wants to convey in Rio and beyond: we can build a desirable, sustainable future. That is why the UN Global Compact fully supports Sustainia. It is a fresh and much-needed approach to communicating sustainability, engaging key stakeholders, and inspiring tangible action.”
EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard:
”To get things to the speed and scale we need, it is crucial that sustainable living and business models move from the margins to the mainstream. One of our greatest challenges as leaders is to connect with people and communities around the world and Sustania is a way of doing this. Sustania can help people get a clear picture of what their lives could be in a sustainable future – and how it will improve our health, our environment, our economy.”
Former Prime Minister of Norway and Former Director General of WHO Gro Harem Brundtland:
“The world is on an unsustainable path, so we must urgently increase our ability for practical change. I believe a major contribution can be made through sharing optimism and experiences with a large number of consumers/citizens, as well as companies. Motivation and inspiration for positive action will help us move forward towards a better future for all.”
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