2008 – Theo Colborn

In 2008 the award was shared in three equal parts by Theo Colborn, Margot Wallström, and Jan Ahlbom and Ulf Duus.

Professor Theo Colborn was an American environmental scientist and activist. Through comprehensive analysis of available facts, and through her books and lectures, she effectively initiated a profound global discussion about the survival of mankind and ecological systems on our planet. Dr. Colborn’s research, mostly performed around the Great Lakes, revealed how synthetic toxins disrupt the reproduction of birds and mammals and their effect on sensitive human hormonal systems, inducing the risk of cancer and reduced fertility. Former Vice President Al Gore has called her pioneering book “Our stolen future” a sequel to Rachel Carson’s world-famous wake-up call “Silent Spring.

Jury's motivation

Modern society is dependent on the use of an enormous amount of chemical compounds. Obviously they contribute to our welfare and comfort, but unfortunately are also the source of a number of frightening and, in part, unknown effects on humans and the environment. Addressing and solving these complex issues requires broad strategies in which science, politics and market mechanisms all play key roles.

Consequently, the 2008 Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development will go to four highly distinguished persons in these sectors, who have in different but complementary ways helped to reveal, describe and combat the negative effects of man-made chemicals on ecological systems and human health.