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Katerva Award winner and finalists selected to have an immediate, scalable impact on health, food chain, economics and energy

Meat from plants, a new banking system for social change, good energy from food waste: A new breed of companies are showing how innovation can be scaled for both business opportunities and global good. Led by resolute and independent thinkers, these companies are making dents in conventional ways of thinking to defy and fight for global change.

The Katerva Award identifies these companies as finalists annually in its global competition –– referred to by Reuters as "the Nobel Prize for Sustainability". Some 3,500 companies and organizations were submitted to the Katerva Award council last year and Katerva selected 10 companies as this year’s finalists –– as forces to revolutionize areas such as food, business, transportation, energy and economics. The Katerva Award winner this year, 2016, goes to Ethereum, a decentralized banking system that could upend inefficient and exclusive conventional bank systems and financial markets.

Ethereum runs apps on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middleman or counter-party risk.

It is exactly this kind of innovation that goes beyond last-century thinking, and lifetime-only aspirations to leap-frog over current limitations in our global economy as a force for radical, global improvements for people and planet.

Terry Waghorn, Katerva's founder and executive director explains: “Katerva is not just interested in 'good' ideas, the ideas we are after will create big changes in how we live on this planet. Katerva's approach places emphasis squarely on action for a sustainable future—creating and implementing solutions to sustainability-related concerns,” he says, noting that Katerva is the first truly open worldwide platform for change.

Katerva, was founded in 2010 by Waghorn, a business intelligence strategist. Katerva uses people and leading-edge diagnostic tools to source, evaluate and accelerate disruptive, sustainable innovation that will show measurable impact on this planet in the next 10 years.

“To solve the complex sustainability challenges we face as stewards of our planet, will require innovative solutions across a wide range of disciplines and economic sectors. Katerva provides a much needed and novel forum for this to happen, as evidenced by the innovation and entrepreneurship embodied by this year's Finalists for the Katerva Award, “ states Antonio J. Busalacchi, Jr, Director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland, USA.

Katerva Award Finalists for 2016 include:

Behavioral ChangeChoose Energy: The Texas-based startup, Choose Energy, was founded in 2008 as a marketplace for clean technology and services. Choose Energy, launched with the vision of simplifying shopping for electricity and natural gas rates, plan terms and renewable energy options for the average consumer and small business. Choose Energy makes it easy for people to save money on energy costs by switching to a 100% green product such as wind power.

EnvironmentHolganix, organic lawn care,sells environmentally- friendly lawn care products that contain natural microorganisms. Their products reduce the use of fertilizers as much as 90%. Holganix's management team successfully grew two multi-million dollar lawn care companies in the past, now focusing on growing another with a greater, greener goal. Holganix pledged to eliminate 100,000,000 pounds of nitrates, 100,000,000 pounds of phosphates and 25,000,000 ounces of concentrated pesticides by Earth Day 2016.

FoodImpossible Foods Inc., a startup offering sustainable vegetarian produce to conscious consumers across the U.S. since 2011 out of Redwood City, CA. By a complex molecular process, Impossible Foods selects specific proteins and nutrients from green foods to create imitation foods such as the cheeseburger.

Gender EqualityThe Mann Deshi Bank, a micro-enterprise development bank working with low-income women to provide business loans. This is India’s first rural co-operative bank owned by women. Mann Deshi aspires to launch 1 million rural women entrepreneurs through partnerships with social enterprises and mainline financial institutions in India. Founder Chetna Sinha also established a business school for rural women to provide training in entrepreneurial skills and set up a toll-free hotline linked to India’s Chamber of Commerce to give rural women financial advice.

Human DevelopmentSolarkiosk, a Berlin-based social enterprise has provided solar-powered autonomous business hubs to off-the-grid communities since 2011. By 2014, Solarkiosk established six subsidiaries in different countries across Africa and Asia. Rural communities now have access to sustainable energy, refrigeration, water purification, charging, communication, technology, information and business opportunities previously unheard of. This bottom of the pyramid approach enables and empowers local kiosk owners with green technology.

Solar Kiosk is a Katerva Prize finalist 2016

Solar Kiosks provide solar energy to people in off-grid locations.

Materials, Resources and Water: Grolltex is an early-stage company with breakthrough technology for the mass production of graphene. The company has developed a method in which graphene is grown on a copper substrate and overlaid with a sheet of nickel. Because graphene adheres better to nickel than to copper, the entire graphene single-layer can be easily removed and remains intact over large areas. Their technology allows local, waste-free industrial production of large-area graphene (the "hottest" and the most expensive material currently in existence) at a price that is 240,000 lower than the current market price.

Economics: Ethereum

Power & EnergyArctic Sand launched out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011, with the goal to save the 80% of all energy that is lost in the form of heat worldwide. The power conversion technology startup offers products with proprietary technology developed and exclusively licensed from MIT. This technology,“Transformative Integrated Power Solutions,” significantly improves power conversion Efficiency.

Smart CitiesWISErg describes itself as a ‘hybrid technology company combining bio-, clean-, and high-tech systems to create a revolutionary solution for managing urban-generated organics.” The Harvester product is a machine that transforms food waste into high-quality fertilizer before it becomes waste. The food matter becomes a sort of high nutrient liquid that can be converted to organic lawn care product. Launched commercially in 2014, the company achieved early success. Harvesters are installed in stores and facilities including Whole Foods Market.

TransportationOtto, a start-up set up and funded by a group of former employees from Google, Apple and Tesla, is working on a kit to turn commercial lorries into self-drive vehicles. The kit will include cameras, radar and lidar (laser-based) sensors which will allow the vehicle to safely keep within a lane, maintain a set speed and slow or stop when necessary. San Francisco-based Otto currently has around 40 employees, including Anthony Levandowski, who built Google's first self-driving car.

Katerva comes from the Latin word Caterva which means “crowd.” Katerva’s distributed networks of CEOs, heads of state, ministers and policymakers, experts and academics, international organizations, youth, and technology innovators are fundamental to finding and then accelerating technologies for dramatic, positive changes that can be seen in our lifetime.

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