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07-16-2012

Sustainability Award to Recycling Industry Entrepreneurs

The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2012 goes to Dr. Michael Biddle, Richmond, USA and Björn Söderberg, Stockholm and Nepal. The prize is worth 1,000,000 Swedish crowns (approx. USD 137,000) and is divided equally.

Dr Michael Biddle started MBA Polymers 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.

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, Söderberg went to Nepal as a volunteer, where he encountered both poverty and a river full of refuse. 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.

The 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. This year’s prize is the thirteenth in order and will be awarded at a ceremony in Gothenburg on December 4.

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