The Nature Conservancy Makes Short List for Prestigious Alcan Prize

The Nature Conservancy
Tuesday, 8 June 2004

The Nature Conservancy has been named to the short list for the US $1-million Alcan Prize for Sustainability by The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF). Of almost 500 entries received from 79 countries around the world, 12 organizations made the short list of candidates.

"We are very excited to reach this stage given the number of outstanding entries. In addition to the prestige, winning the prize would accelerate efforts by The Nature Conservancy and its partners to protect biodiversity and improve the health and quality of life for the people of China's Yunnan Province through sustainable energy use," said Josh Knights, director of corporate partnerships for The Nature Conservancy.

Alcan Inc, a global leader in aluminum and related products, created the Alcan Prize for Sustainability in January of this year to recognize outstanding contributions to the goal of economic, environmental, and social sustainability by not-for-profit, non-governmental, and civil society organizations.

"We have a very aggressive sustainability agenda within Alcan," said company CEO Travis Engen. "The Alcan Prize is one way to demonstrate our sustainability commitment to the world outside our plant gates, and to recognize that we all have a role to play in preserving our planet for future generations. On behalf of Alcan, I extend our congratulations to The Nature Conservancy and wish them every success in the final phase of the competition."

The Nature Conservancy and China's Yunnan Provincial Government are working to protect 25,000 square miles of land, an area about the size of Ireland, in the most biologically diverse temperate ecosystem on Earth. Half a million households in northwest Yunnan depend on wood for cooking, heating, and housing. Although commercial logging is banned, wood harvested by rural communities remains a critical threat, destroying more than 300,000 acres of forest each year and imposing hardship on those (mainly women) who must travel far distances to collect it.

One of the most promising strategies for accomplishing this is by promoting a strategy that reconciles the pressing need of the local population for reliable and safe energy with the conservation of local habitat. The Conservancy and the local government are working to reduce fuel wood use by 75 percent over the next five years by introducing alternative sources of energy to 100,000 households and 1,500 small enterprises.

To ensure credibility and objectivity, Alcan engaged the IBLF to manage the Alcan Prize for Sustainability. Since the March 31 closing date for entries, the IBLF has coordinated Assessment Panels in the U.K., Poland, the Philippines, and Canada to review entries and select finalists. The Adjudication Panel, chaired by World Economic Forum co-Chair Josť-Maria Figueres and composed of international experts in sustainability issues, fully endorsed the assessment process adopted by IBLF and have acknowledged the 12 short-listed organizations as a result of the process. The Alcan Prize winner will be announced at the World Economic Forum Annual General Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January, 2005.

The Nature Conservancy in China

The Nature Conservancy is helping protect the magnificent landscapes and ancient traditions of greater China, from the rugged mountains of Yunnan Province to the waters of the South China Sea.

For more information, or to contact The Nature Conservancy, see their website at:

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