Thanks for all your nominations! With more than 100 candidates from 6 continents, this year’s campaign has seen great talents. Now, we proudly present the two winners of Future Sustainability Leaders 2015.



Carlos Cadena Gaitan

Age: 32
Activism, mobilization, bike culture, communicator, awareness

Carlos Cadena Gaitan is an astonishing inspiration for leaders around the world for how to mobilize people, create change in your local community and see the international effects.

As an affiliated researcher at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Colombian born Carlos Cadena Gaitan is the co-founder of La Ciudad Verde, a Colombian activist think thank that promotes sustainable cities through citizen participation and creativity. La Ciudad Verde uses social media and art as a tool to take academic knowledge on sustainability to citizens. They have mobilized more than 100.000 citizens in Colombia through global campaigns i.e. BikesForLife which mobilized almost 200 cities in 2013. Furthermore, Carlos coordinates the World Bicycle Forum, which unites citizens, advocates, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and artists, amongst others, to think about how urban cycling can become a serious form of urban transport and help to build better “Cities for All”. In 2013, Carlos gave a TEDx talk ‘theories won’t change the world’ on public transportation onboard a public train in motion between the Dutch cities Roermond and Weert.

Parrys Raines

Age: 19
Communications, mobilization, explorer, youth advocate

At a very early age, Parrys Raines has shown extraordinary talents in communicating and engaging both the youth as well as established leaders in her work and passion for sustainability.

Parrys is a young Australian communicator, who founded the website Climate Girl at the age of just 16 years. Supported by big names such as David de Rothschild and Tim Flannery, the site gathers stories on sustainability issues, and invites young people around the world to contribute stories and ideas on the site. Following Climate Girl, Parrys founded her own film production company Munchkin Productions with the aim to communicate issues and solutions in sustainability to youth around the world.

Growing up with an interest in sustainability, Parrys, however, found the climate debate too complex to understand. This spurred her wish to create a platform that could educate and inspire youth and motivate them to become agents of change. And her actions are already mobilizing the youth around the world. At the age of 13, she created “A Kids Guide to Climate Change”, which she presented at the UN’s International Children’s Conference on the Environment in Norway, 2008. On the way to the summit, she stopped at Borneo to shoot for her first documentary on how the palm oil plantations are replacing the natural forest and endangering orangutans. Currently, Parrys is studying environmental law, working as a team member of the Plastiki Expedition and is a WWF Youth Ambassador.


With more than 100 candidates from 6 continents, our drive to find the Future Sustainability Leaders 2015 resulted in a long list of trailblazing young people. A strong list that made it a hard choice to find the two winners of our 2015 campaign.

Thanks to everyone who took their time to submit a candidate. We were deeply inspired by the pool of talent you sent our way.
Take a look at some of the many nominations here.

Do you know the next Sustainability Leader? You can submit for our 2016 competition today.

Aart van Veller

Innovation, Environmental Technology, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, Consumer Awareness

Aart Van Veller is a young entrepreneur, who has founded the innovative Dutch startup Vandebron, which allows independent producers of renewable energy to sell directly to private consumers.

Alyssa Ramos-Reynoso

Dominican Republic – currently living in the US
Education, NGO, Impact, Agriculture, Sustainability

Alyssa Ramos-Reynoso got the idea of building sustainable schools already at the age of 15, now she is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Schools for Sustainability. The organization is building high schools in under-resourced areas of the Dominican Republic to grant students an understanding of sustainability in addition to a general education.

Boyan Slat

The Netherlands
Entrepreneurship, Water Innovation, Waste, Awareness

Boyan Slat dropped out his Aerospace Engineering study to tackle global issues of plastic pollution, he founded The Ocean Cleanup, which has an innovative system for cleaning the ocean from plastic in which currents makes plastic concentrates itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennia to mere years

Diego Guillermo Valencia Lopez

Agriculture, Network Building, Mobilizing for Impact

Diego Lopez is the founder of Zoostener, a Peruvian volunteers’ organization that aims to improve the social awareness about small-scale farming, sustainable farming, indigenous peoples’ situation and ecological justice.

Jessi Baker

United Kingdom
Innovation, Teaching, Design, Advocacy, Consumer-awareness

Designer and Technologist Jessi Baker founded the software Provenance, which aims at empowering consumers to make informed purchases by giving consumers a user-centered experience that shows where, of what and how products are made.

Julian Marwitz

Germany, currently London
Innovation, Sustainability Entrepreneurship

Julian founded ARINEOS, a company that focuses on Green Buildings, with an emphasis on using environmentally-friendly materials, intelligent energy-saving systems and effective waste management.

Kate Berrisford

South Africa
Media, Network Building, Sustainability, Advocacy

Kate Berrisford’s passion for the environment and sustainability and her love for Africa inspired her to found the Green Africa Directory as a means to encourage and promote green networking, sharing of environmental information and ultimately a more sustainable future for Africa and its people.

Komali Yenneti

Science, Education, Influencer, Mobilization

Komali Yenneti is currently a joint postdoctoral researcher at Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology (NIGLAS), bringing a bifocal lens perspective to the fields of sustainability, energy efficiency, renewable energy, urban planning and green buildings as a specialist skilled in socio-politics, policy analysis and international project management.

Nancy Johnston

United Kingdom
Eco-Fashion, Design, Sustainable branding, consumer awareness

Nancy Johnston was originally a trained social worker, but after returning from a trip to Mongolia, she founded the British eco-friendly fashion label Tengri, which bring Mongolian yak wool to the forefront of the global fashion industry through sustainable, eco-friendly and fairshare business.

Nickson Otieno

Green Buildings, Organizing, Education, Sustainability Awareness, Advocacy

Nickson Otieno is the Director of Green Africa Standards and Certification at the Green Africa Foundation and an architect with a desire to create and design not only sustainable buildings, but also life-changing social programs and healthy communities.

Samuel Millar

Communications, Mobilization, Activist, Sustainable Solutions

Sam Millar is the founder of http://nordicsolutions.co, which is created to address climate change with innovative solutions and technologies that will make the steps to a sustainable future more tangible. Among other things, Sam has presented on the need for action on climate change at several international conferences.

Selina Juul

Mobilization, Activism, Awareness, Food Waste

In order to mobilize action against food waste, Selina Juul founded the Stop Wasting Food movement and NGO, which works to influence the value chain from farm to fork through campaigns and advocacy work.

Umesh Mukhi

India, currently France
Leadership, Connector, Sustainability Awareness, Network Building

Umesh Mukhi is a voice in international youth affairs and the founder of the Sustainable Leadership Initiative, which aims at mapping new sustainable leadership models that are needed for solving challenges of the 21st century.


All around the world, inspiring examples of courageous and farsighted individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses and organisations are offering solutions to emerging challenges, and innovations that hold the promise to radically improve how human society is organised.

This year’s Future Sustainability Leader campaign searched for nominations for the best and brightest future leaders in sustainability that are mobilising for change and making us all seize new opportunities.

We will announce the winner of the 2015 Future Sustainability Leader Award on April 15th 2015. The winner of this year’s Future Sustainability Leaders campaign will be invited to join our roundtable on June 10th – 11th in Oslo, Norway. The roundtable is a meeting of the minds of influential leaders from business, government and civil society – where all will be called upon to participate. The Future Sustainability Leader will join the discussion on equal terms, actively participating and sharing their story and reflections on how we can mobilise opportunities for change.


‘Bringing together sustainability front runners and thought leaders the roundtable explores how we now can mobilise around the opportunities associated with the transition towards a safer and more sustainable future.

You can follow the winner and the rest of the roundtable on #WorldOfOpportunities

What is Future Sustainability Leaders?

DNV GL and Sustainia have partnered up to find the future leaders in sustainability. Together, we will drive a campaign from March 16th – 29th 2015 asking the world to nominate a person with the right ideas, mindset and ability to mobilize for change and speed up the transformation to a safer and more sustainable future. You can submit as many candidates as you wish, but you must give us an individual reason for each nomination.

Who can I nominate?

We only have one criterion: Candidates must be under the age of 40. Aside of age limitation, we are open to your suggestion. We are looking for candidates from all corners of the world bringing great ideas, trailblazing innovation, extraordinary communications skills or a different approach to the table. We are not set on certain industries or background. On the contrary, we are eager to learn about new voices from science, education, grassroots, entrepreneurship, politics etc.

How do we select the winner?

Sustainia carries out background research on all candidates and shortlist 15 candidates. A committee of sustainability managers and executives at DNV GL will then review the shortlisted candidates. The final winner will be the candidate that presents the biggest potential to mobilize for a sustainable transformation.

What does the Future Sustainability Leader 2015 win?

This year’s Future Sustainability Leader will be invited to DNV GL’s international sustainability roundtable in Høvik, Norway, June 10th – 11th 2015. The roundtable gathers high-level business leaders and policy makers from across the globe. The Future Sustainability Leader will join the discussion on equal terms and will be given a speaker opportunity to address the roundtable participants. DNV GL covers flights and lodging during the stay.

Who is behind the campaign?

Driven by our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. We provide classification and technical assurance along with software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil and gas, and energy industries. We also provide certification services to customers across a wide range of industries. Combining leading technical and operational expertise, risk methodology and in-depth industry knowledge, we empower our customers’ decisions and actions with trust and confidence. We continuously invest in research and collaborative innovation to provide customers and society with operational and technological foresight. Operating in more than 100 countries, our 16,000 professionals are dedicated to helping customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

Based in Copenhagen, Sustainia is a sustainability think tank working to scale the deployment of innovative solutions and provide industries and organizations with a shortcut to sustainable transformation. Based on tangible know-how, innovation and technologies, Sustainia showcases the sustainable future we could achieve if existing solutions were implemented on a large scale.

You can nominate here for 2016:

We have now closed the nominations for 2015, but you are very welcome to already nominate your favorite candidates for the Future Sustainability Leaders 2016 campaign.

Can’t see the form below? Try this LINK

Still can’t get the form to work? Write Benjamin at btr@mm.dk

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