Congratulations to the 2015 Future Sustainability Leaders – Carlos Cadena Gaitan and Parrys Raines!

Putting the world on a more sustainable path is in everyone’s best interest, but no one has a greater stake in securing the future than our youth.

That’s why, along with Scandinavian think tank Sustainia, we’ve been searching for young movers, shakers and change-makers for the 2015 Future Sustainability Leader Award.

We were thrilled to receive so many inspiring nominees. After careful consideration by our expert panel, we’re pleased to announce the winners. Congratulations to Parrys Raines from Australia, and Carlos Cadena Gaitan from Colombia!

Parrys Raines

Country: Australia

Age: 19

Field: Communications, mobilization, explorer, youth advocate

At a very early age, Parrys Raines has shown extraordinary talents in communicating and engaging both the youth as well as established leaders in her work and passion for sustainability. 

Parrys is a young Australian communicator, who founded the website Climate Girl at the age of just 16 years. Supported by big names such as David de Rothschild and Tim Flannery, the site gathers stories on sustainability issues, and invites young people around the world to contribute stories and ideas on the site. Following Climate Girl, Parrys founded her own film production company Munchkin Productions with the aim to communicate issues and solutions in sustainability to youth around the world.

Growing up with an interest in sustainability, Parrys found the climate debate too complex to understand. This spurred her wish to create a platform that could educate and inspire youth and motivate them to become agents of change. And her actions are already mobilizing the youth around the world. At the age of 13, she created "A Kids Guide to Climate Change", which she presented at the UN's International Children's Conference on the Environment in Norway, 2008. On the way to the summit, she stopped at Borneo to shoot her first documentary on how the palm oil plantations are replacing the natural forest and endangering orangutans.  Currently, Parrys is studying environmental law, working as a team member of the Plastiki Expedition and is a WWF Youth Ambassador.

You can find Parrys on Twitter @climate_girl.

Carlos Cadena Gaitan

Country: Colombia

Age: 32

Field: Activism, mobilization, bike culture, communicator, awareness

Carlos Cadena Gaitan is an astonishing inspiration for leaders around the world on how to mobilize people, create change in your local community and see the international effects.

As an affiliated researcher at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Colombian-born Carlos is the co-founder of La Ciudad Verde, a Colombian activist think thank that promotes sustainable cities through citizen participation and creativity. La Ciudad Verde uses social media and art as a tool to take academic knowledge on sustainability to citizens. They have mobilized more than 100 thousand citizens in Colombia through global campaigns such as BikesForLife, which mobilized almost 200 cities in 2013. Furthermore, Carlos coordinates the World Bicycle Forum, which unites citizens, advocates, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and artists, amongst others, to think about how urban cycling can become a serious form of urban transport and help to build better "Cities for All". In 2013, Carlos gave a TEDx talk ‘theories won’t change the world’ onboard a public train between the Dutch cities Roermond and Weert.

You can find Carlos on Twitter @CadenaGaitan.

Congratulations also go to Carlos’ nominator, colleague Juan Manuel Restrepo, and environmentalist and adventurer David de Rothschild who put Parrys’ name forward. They’ll each receive a prize pack. 

Carlos and Parrys are invited to share their inspirational stories and visions for the future at our international sustainability roundtable in Oslo this June. The 2015 Future Sustainability Leaders will address high-level business leaders and policy makers from across the globe at the two-day event.

You can keep up to date with roundtable news via Twitter: #WorldOfOpportunities, or find more information on DNV GL’s sustainability work here.