Two teenagers from Surabaya, Indonesia, Miss Wening Pranaya and Miss Vania Santoso, alias Bright Youngsters were the first prize winners of this year's prestigious Volvo-UNEP Adventure Award for their project Useful Waste for a Better Future, and received an award of US$10,000.
There was a total of 365 projects submitted from 47 countries worldwide. The second prize winner was from New Zealand and won US$6,000 and the third prize winner was from South Africa US$4,000.
Useful Waste for a Better Future is a project that not only removes rubbish but also recycles it into sustainable souvenirs and gifts with the additional advantage of adding value and helping overcome poverty.
Theodore Oben of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which is the official Volvo Adventure partner, said, "The standard goes up and up each and every year. This year Useful Waste for a Better Future is a project that works on many environmental levels including waste reduction, recycling and revenue-earning. As such, it was the outstanding project amongst 15 excellent finalists."
Upon receiving the most prestigious young environmentalists' accolade in the world, an overjoyed Vania Santoso said, "Whilst it was a stain on Indonesia's reputation being branded the dirtiest nation in the world by WHO, it was also a wake-up call that something had to be done and in our small way, we may have helped both change perceptions and improve our local environment and economy."
Her colleague Wening Pranaya added, "It has been an amazing experience coming to Gothenburg and being encouraged by how many other students are as passionate about the environment as we are and it is a great honour to win, especially against so many other powerful projects."
Presenting the prizes at the Volvo-UNEP Adventure Awards ceremony, Olle Axelson, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Volvo Cars said, "The pride and the passion all these students have for their own local environment and the wider global picture is highly encouraging and in fact they are all winners. But the big winner here is the environment itself, and facing so many challenges on so many fronts, the creativity and dedication of these young people convinces me that the environment is being passed into safe and responsible hands."
"The Volvo Adventure is immensely inspiring and within the automotive industry in general and Volvo in particular, we can draw great strength and motivation to redouble our environmental efforts."
New Zealand represented by the Green Teens, won US$6,000 for their Plastic Not So Fantastic project, whilst South Africa's Facing Up team took the US$4,000 third prize for their EnergyWise campaign.
For the first time in the six-year history of the Volvo Adventure, all three podium places went to all-female teams and Volvo Adventure jury member Siw Persson of WWF commented, "I don't think we can read too much into that, other than to celebrate the diversity and equality evident on the Volvo Adventure and to note that the winning projects all adopted a holistic approach to environmental sustainability."
Projects are already underway all round the world for the seventh annual Volvo Adventure and the closing date for entries is 31 January 2008.
Kikki Hugestrand, Volvo Adventure Project Manager said, "Such has been the response that we are changing the age range for entries to 13-16-years-old and introducing a fun-based environment education initiative for kids on 12 and under."
She added, "The Volvo Adventure has become a fixture in the environmental calendar and a key component in expressing Volvo's passion for and commitment to the environment, whilst for the students, it is an educational, environmental and cultural experience that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives."
Notes to Editors
The Volvo Adventure is an environmental initiative for young people planned and managed by Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group.
The Volvo Adventure dovetails with the Volvo Environment Prize; now in its 18th year, the Volvo Environment Prize is widely known as the 'seventh unofficial Nobel Prize.'
Almost 1,500 projects involving over 5,000 young people have been undertaken since the inauguration of the Volvo Adventure in 2002.
The United Nations Environment Programme has endorsed the Volvo Adventure since 2004.
Previous winners of the Volvo Adventure have included India, South Africa and Turkey.
High-resolution, royalty-free images are available upon request or can be downloaded from www.volvoadventure.org
Manager, Environmental Communication
Volvo Car Corporation
Public Affairs PVH50
SE-405 31 GÖTEBORG, Sweden