In 2008 the award was shared in three equal parts by Theo Colborn, Margot Wallström, and Jan Ahlbom and Ulf Duus.
The Gothenburg-based duo made up of environmental engineer Jan Ahlbom and toxicologist Ulf Duus had been working together for almost 20 years at the time, with several projects to reduce the unsustainable usage of chemicals in the society. For example, their work against the HA-oils in car tires, considered cancerogenic, contributed to a prohibition of the substances in the EU. Moreover, Ahlbom and Duus had in the project Clean Shipping worked for a more conscious overseas transportation through increased demands on environmental aspects.
Environmental engineer Jan Ahlbom and toxicologist Ulf Duus have systematically invented methods to reduce the negative impact of chemicals in daily life in Sweden, particularly in the Göteborg region. They have step-by-step tested market-based strategies in which customers are connected to producers and where economic incentives.
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.