Awards Recap: Sustainable Design Awards 2011

IMG_7295 The 12th Annual Sustainable Design Awards were presented Monday night at the Hilton New York.

Since 1999, we have shined a light on the great innovations and leaders working to fight climate change with these awards that recognize the work of those making specific advancements in industry, building, media, organizations, and public policy.

During the ceremony, we paid tribute to the late Ray Anderson, a green leader who was the first-ever recipient of our Corporate Design Award for his early commitment to run a zero-footprint business. His work was applauded and these choice words were shared: "Do you see, it's all a design problem and we are all designers! It is very important to the future of humankind that each of you forms a very clear understanding of 'ethical design.' "

Past winner Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm Yogurt, returned to be a presenter this year and reminded those in attendance that we all have the power to affect change with this simple example -- anyone who thinks they're too small to make difference has never been in bed with a mosquito. Honoree Adrian Grenier later added that acknowledging small changes allows us to continue to grow.

Also on stage during the event: rousing performances by New Orleans music legend Dr. John, along with videos and a presentation to spotlight our work in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. We shared the story of Shirley Charlot, a woman from New Orleans who lost her home from Hurricane Katrina but was able to rebuild with assistance from our Built it Back Green program.

"We're at a pivotal point with the environment," pointed out honoree Henrik Fisker of Fisker Automotives. We couldn't agree more -- and we're lucky to have inspiring work to honor.

Below, a list of the five honorees this year. (Short videos on the work we're honoring are here.)

Entertainment and Design Award: Adrian Grenier, Actor & Environmentalist

Grenier received the award in recognition of his work through, social, and traditional media to communicate and promote eco-friendly lifestyle choices.

Product Design Award: Steve Elfman, Sprint President of Network Operations and Wholesale

Sprint was given this award in recognition of their latest eco-friendly phone: the Samsung Replenish, which is made from 82% recyclable materials and is the first phone in the United States to receive platinum certification from Underwriters Laboratory Environment.

Corporate Design Award: Henrik Fisker, Fisker Automotive CEO

Fisker was recognized with this award for the exceptional design and sustainability of the Fisker Karma and the organization’s commitment to creating the first truly green car company.

Green Building Design Award: Arthur Rubinfeld, Starbucks President of Global Development

Starbucks received this award for the company’s commitment to increasing the sustainability of its stores and their global operations—and for achieving LEED certification for all new company-owned stores beginning in 2010.

Organizational Design Award: May Boeve, Co-Founder of

This award honors for their groundbreaking design of one of the most widespread global grassroots movements in history and their efforts to raise awareness about the most threatening issue of our time: climate change.