by Eswar Mani
Over the course of September 9th and 10th, the members of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Review Committee were faced with the daunting task of shortlisting the top 50 candidates for the 2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize out of a record 579 entries. While this was my third year judging for the prize, it was by far the most challenging process, given the overall increase in quantity and quality of the applications. Furthermore, in addition to the four categories of Large Corporations, Small/Medium Enterprises, Non-Profit Organizations and Lifetime Achievements, there was a newly launched category for Global High Schools.
The reason why I believe judging for this prize is an honor is also the reason behind it being extremely challenging; we the judges are inspired by every application. Whether it is the long-term vision and leadership of a large corporation in commercializing breakthrough technologies and paving the way for a new market (and competitors) or the impact and innovation of one single individual that has shaped the world of sustainable energy into what we see today, each and every nominee has to be commended for their efforts as they have largely been voluntary and driven from a keen sense of morality and social justice. In my mind, this is exactly what the UAE’s late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan wanted to foster and is why this prize was subsequently named on his behalf.
Every year, coming out of the committee of this prize, I have a renewed sense of hope that against all odds, humankind has the resources and ability to combat climate change. This can be seen by the diverse initiatives of all the entries. And this is also why it is a crucial task for all committee members to seriously deliberate each and every application. It also is a task to be able to switch the frame of mind when moving from one category to another, as some categories identify companies that have made a significant impact to date, while other categories reward potential disruption that can enhance the market adoption of technologies and/or catalyse behavioral changes. These applications represent the applicants’ hard work, expertise and dreams; this commands our respect and we do not take our role in awarding recognition to the top candidates lightly.
We firmly believe that the top 50 candidates that have come out of the deliberations over the course of the two days and their stories will inspire you as much as they have inspired us.
See the Zayed Future Energy Prize shortlisted candidates
Eswar Mani is an Investment Manager at Masdar Capital tasked with analyzing investment opportunities globally in a wide variety of industries related to clean technologies, in addition to raising funds from Japanese investors. Eswar holds an M.B.A. from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, where he was a Henry J. Ford Scholar and has a B.Sc. dual degree in Philosophy and Economics from the London School of Economics; Eswar currently sits on the review committee for the Zayed Future Energy Prize.