2009 – Sören Hermansen

Award Winner 2009

Rapidly growing cities and towns house half of the world’s population. They represent 75
percent of all energy consumption and generate 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. This means that the battle to create more sustainable cities and urban environments – environmentally and socially – is one of the most decisive factors facing the UN Climate Change Conference Copenhagen in December.

For this reason the Göteborg Award, one million Swedish crowns, is shared equally by three people who have found new solutions to these enormous challenges:

  • Dr. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Tanzania
  • Enrique Peñalosa, Bogotá, Colombia and
  • Sören Hermansen, Samsö, Denmark

The Göteborg Award – “The Nobel Prize in Environment” – celebrates its ten year jubilee in 2009. We are thrilled to award our jubilee prize to these brilliant visionaries, strategists and system transformers,” says Stefan Edman, Chairman of the Award Jury since its conception in 2000.

This is the tenth Göteborg Award and the total amount of the prize is one million Swedish crowns. The Award was founded by the City of Göteborg and several interested companies in 1999. Its purpose is to “stimulate further positive developments and recognize strategic work for national and international sustainable development”.

It is funded by the City together with the Second Swedish National Pension Fund, Carl Bennet AB, Elanders AB, Eldan Recycling, Folksam, Götaverken Miljö, Handelsbanken, Nordea, Peab, Schenker AB, SKF and The Swedish Co-operative Union (KF).

The Award winners will receive their prize at a prize ceremony on the 26th of November in Göteborg.


Sören Hermansen is the primus motor and focal point of the so-called Samsö Project, in which Samsö, with its some 4,000 inhabitants, won the competition between Danish islands on which one would first become self-sufficient through renewable energy within ten years.
Under civic-minded Hermansen’s enthusiastic leadership – founded on a grass roots perspective – the work has resulted so far in eleven land-based, and ten ocean-based, wind generators as well as a number of district heating power plants driven by burning hay or wood chips. Replacing fossil fuelled cars and tractors with biogas, raps oil and electric car technology is already in the pipeline.

Sören Hermansen was named one of Time Magazine’s 2008 “Heroes of the Environment”, and is now in the process of spreading his ideas around the world.


In 2009 the Göteborg Award celebrates its ten year jubilee. Our jubilee prize, one million Swedish crowns, is shared equally between Dr. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Tanzania, Enrique Peñalosa, Bogotá, Colombia and Sören Hermansen, Samsö, Denmark.

Each one comes from a separate continent and they are, locally and globally,knowledgeable, engaged and impatient doers. They are ambassadors for one of the most decisive factors for humanity – the battle for sustainable development in the cities and towns around the globe.

These urban environments are already home to half the people in the world, they represent 75 percent of all energy consumption and generate 80 percent of all greenhouse gases. The problems are extremely complex and require urgent but long-term stable solutions.