From a cleaner freight train to an automated beehive, a way to recycle fabric, and other bold, new technologies, the 5th annual awards honor the products, concepts, companies, policies, and designs that are pursuing innovation for the good of society and the planet.
Neste Corporation, News, 4 May 2021
The winners of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards were announced today, honoring the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation when it comes to solving health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality.
Neste, a leading provider of renewable and circular solutions, has been selected as winner in the “Enduring Impact: 15+ Years in Business” category due to its partnership with the City of Oakland to implement a circular economy.
The left over used cooking oil from making fries, burgers and pizza is collected from more than 100 local restaurants across Oakland, converted into renewable diesel, and then supplied to the City of Oakland for use in diesel powered vehicles and equipment – such as fire trucks, street cleaners, and generators. In fact, the City of Oakland’s has transformed all their diesel powered vehicles and equipment from fossil fueled to fully fossil free.
Each year, this pioneering initiative enables the City of Oakland to keep 3,375 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. That is equivalent to planting about 56,000 trees or making 780 cars carbon neutral. This pioneering project also plays a part in helping the City achieve its Equitable Climate Action Plan.
Fifteen years ago, Neste was an oil company faced with the hatching “Black Swan” of climate change. Recognizing the long-term risks posed by a warming climate, Neste switched its business model from oil to focus on renewable products. The company is now a leader in renewable and circular solutions, and is continuing to enhance its capacity to turn renewable raw materials into renewable products – including Neste MY Renewable Diesel and Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel, and Neste RE.
Neste is expanding the circular economy around the world. In the Netherlands, for example, Neste established a trial circular economy with McDonald’s. The project involved collecting used cooking oil from 252 McDonald’s chains, converting this waste material to renewable diesel, and using that fuel to power trucks that deliver food and provide other services to the restaurants. The collaboration demonstrates the potential of creating a circular economy with businesses.
Now in its fifth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 33 winners, more than 400 finalists, and more than 800 honorable mentions —with Health and Wellness, AI & Data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 4,000 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, and more. Plus, several new categories were added, including Pandemic Response, Urban Design, and Architecture. The 2021 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Brazil to Denmark to Vietnam.
Showcasing some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and companies tackling exigent global challenges, Fast Company’s Summer 2021 issue (on newsstands May 10) highlights, among others, a lifesaving bassinet; the world’s largest carbon sink, thanks to carbon-eating concrete; 3D-printed schools; an at-home COVID-19 testing kit; a mobile voting app; and the world’s cleanest milk.
“We are honored to receive this award. Over the last five years, Neste’s renewable products prevented more than 40 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere,” said Jeremy Baines, President of Neste US. “We are not stopping here, our goal is to help even more business and cities achieve their climate goals faster with renewable and circular solutions. The result will be immediately less greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.”
“There is no question our society and planet are facing deeply troubling times. So, it’s important to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, impact, design, scalability, and passion to solve these problems,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have discovered some of the most groundbreaking projects that have launched since the start of 2020.”
Neste in brief
Neste (NESTE, Nasdaq Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. We refine waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. We are the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. We aim at helping customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable and circular solutions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2030. As a technologically advanced refiner of high-quality oil products with a commitment to reach carbon-neutral production by 2035, we are also introducing renewable and recycled raw materials such as waste plastic as refinery raw materials. We have consistently been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies. In 2020, Neste's revenue stood at EUR 11.8 billion, with 94% of the company’s comparable operating profit coming from renewable products. Read more: neste.com
About the World Changing Ideas Awards:
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.