The Katerva Challenge For Sustainability

Trying to drink from a firehose! That is what it is like trying to keep up with the flood of organizations engaged in promoting, reporting on, recognizing or awarding Sustainability initiatives. Sustainability has evolved from a principled cause to a cultural meme to a global virtual industry, opportunistically appropriated to polemics, politics, and public relations.  One yearns for a different term to signify: “A world that works better for everybody, economically, socially and environmentally.”

Notwithstanding the overcrowding (who knows, maybe the field needs to follow the classic trajectory of new markets: i.e; a fast rush of opportunists leading to a speculative spike followed by a crash and shakeout followed by long-term solid and, um, sustainable growth), a recent arrival to the cause that is worth supporting is The Katerva Challenge (full disclosure: I am a member of Katerva’s advisory group.)

The Katerva Challenge is an annual ranking by the Global Challenge Institute of the best sustainability efforts in the world. They use a network of thought leaders and experts to identify and rank programs based on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Vision 2050 report. Winners are those organizations and individuals making the greatest strides towards a sustainable planet. Winners do not get cash prizes ala The X-Prize. They receive promotion and publicity for their projects.

An earlier version of Katerva was a curatorial model that invited teams of innovators to develop sustainability initiatives and submit them for Katerva awards. Katerva 2.0 is more of a crowd-sourcing model where a network of third party “spotters” recommend projects that they think are worthy of recognition. I am contacting knowledgeable people to request that you pass on notable innovation initiatives to Katerva.org.

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