Jeremy Leggett receives the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development

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Solar energy entrepreneur, Dr Jeremy Leggett, has joined the ranks of Kofi Annan and Al Gore in winning the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development.

The British solar energy entrepreneur, author and environmental activist, Dr Jeremy Leggett, is among one of three global sustainability pioneers to receive the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development in 2015. 

Previous winners include Kofi Annan, Al Gore, Paul Polman and Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The jury based its allocation on two key areas: solar energy and energy efficiency and Leggett, who founded SolarcCentury, which today is the UK’s largest, independent solar electric company, received a prize of one million Swedish krona (SEK), 

The winners in the field of energy efficiency were two Germans: Peter Hennicke and Beate Weber-Schuerholz.

Hennicke has been described as a pioneer of the energy transition, die Energiwende, while Beate Weber-Schuerholz was elected mayor of the town of Heidelberg in 1990 where she, over the course of two election periods (1990-1998), laid the foundation for the leading position within energy efficiency which Heidelberg holds today among the cities of the world. 

Through co-operation with local business, leadership of the local authority’s energy supply company, financing of energy efficient buildings and heavy investments within public transport, Heidelberg reduced its CO2 emissions by 30 percent over the period 1993 to 2007. 

The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development is given each year to people or organisations for outstanding performance and achievements towards a sustainable future. 

Leggett said: “It is an honour to be recognised for work on climate change, particularly among predecessors who are my heroes. Let us hope that all our work, and those of our many compadres, can yet lead us to a good outcome at the Paris climate summit and ultimately to winning the Carbon War.”

Solarcentury donates 5% of its operating profits to SolarAid, a clean energy charity founded by Leggett in 2006 which is the largest seller of solar-powered lamps in Africa. 

Leggett is also chairman of Carbon Tracker, the not-for-profit financial think tank, whose work on the “carbon bubble” is raising awareness of the risk that fossil fuel investments pose to financial stability.