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Katerva Award winner selected to have an immediate, scalable impact on transforming waste from slums into power for the people

A new breed of social companies are showing how innovation can be scaled for both business opportunities and global good. Led by 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" –– with Sanergy, as the winning company this year, 2011.


Sanergy, which was founded by MIT alumni, provides low-cost, sustainable, franchised sanitation centers throughout Kenya to address one of the biggest problems in developing economies today—poor and inefficient access to clean and safe sanitation.


Some 3,000 ideas were submitted to the Katerva Award council last year and Sanergy was selected as this year’s winner –– as a force to transform locally and impact globally.

“This innovation is exactly what’s needed to transform the world’s emerging economies, and when it works it will accelerate waste to energy initiatives in developing countries as well,” says Terry Waghorn, the founder and executive director of Katerva. “Emerging economies have the ability to leapfrog over Western world problems and give us something better and bigger to reach for. Sanergy can do this.”

Sanitation is the number one impediment to growth and development in emerging economies. According to UNICEF about 90% of all child deaths from diarrhea are linked to lack of sanitation and contaminated water. Poor sanitation can kill almost a million people a year.

Sanergy will transform the lives of 8 million people living in Kenyan slums. Sanergy builds low cost sanitation centers and distributes them to local franchises. Waste is then collected and processed into fertilizers and power through Sanergy’s Fresh Life toilet.

The Katerva Award finalists this year are the following:

The selection panel was made up of Jeremy Rifkin (President of the Foundation on Economic Trends), Marina Silva (Acclaimed Environmentalist and Politician), Gunter Pauli (Director of the Zero Emissions Research Initiative), Jean-Michel Cousteau (Explorer, Environmentalist, and Educator), Mary Robinson (Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), Lord St. John of Bletso (Member of the House of Lords and Clean Tech Advocate), Dr. J. Craig Venter (American Biologist known for sequencing the human genome), and John Elkington (Executive Chairman of Volans and Founder of SustainAbility).

The Katerva Award winner will be accelerated with the help of the Katerva community: a global alliance that includes among its members the world’s most distinguished companies, people, policy makers and nonprofits committed to improving the state of the world.

Katerva, founded in 2010 by business intelligence strategist Terry Waghorn, is a not-for-profit organization that finds, evaluates and accelerates disruptive, sustainable innovations that will show measurable impact on this planet in the next 10 years.

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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