Recent winners of this award include:
Kian Hoe Seah, Malaysia, 2013 Coming from humble beginnings and a large family, Kian Hoe Seah developed a strong work ethic at a very young age. Helping his parents manage their own recycling initiative while going to school gave him his first exposure to how a business idea can help protect the environment. After completing a degree in mechanical engineering and earning the Fulbright Research and Development Scholarship to continue his studies, Seah began to focus on the engineering and recyclability of plastics.
He closely studied the supply chain of plastics recycling and uncovered inefficiencies that could be easily fixed. Seah connected his knowledge and ultimate goal of protecting the environment to design an integrated supply chain system in the plastics recycling industry. The renewed system reduced the labor force by 40% and logistics by more than 60%. The second step he took to create a better business for plastics recycling was customizing the product. Seah created a new material that passed all necessary environmental and product tests and eventually turned into an entire line of smart plastics.
Seah's socially responsible business practices and method of production is praised and acclaimed by many business and social leaders around the world. He is known for innovative thinking and passion for continually seeking further knowledge and improvement for his plastics venture. When faced with challenges, Seah perseveres to find a sustainable, environmentally beneficial solution. His honest, focused and hardworking personality makes him a role model for young active citizens everywhere, looking to succeed in business while protecting our planet and its resources.
Linh Do, Australia, 2013 Growing up first-generation Australian with refugee parents, Mong Linh Do's zest for hard work and dedication for helping others was founded at a young age. She learned to balance the responsibilities of work, school and family while also finding time to volunteer, realizing the importance of giving back to her community. Focused on environmental issues, she started the Change A Million Light Bulbs campaign that ultimately led to legislature limiting the sale of light bulbs in Australia to only those that are environmentally friendly. This was the beginning of her successful involvement in creating sustainable impact.
Do approached the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) with the light bulb campaign and now more than 30 countries have similar regulations of light bulb sales. For two years, she served as the UNEP's youth representative for the Asia-Pacific region implementing policy and strategy for environmental protection on a global scale. Invested in improving civic journalism standards and increasing democratic engagement of youth, she also co-founded OurSay, an online civic engagement platform.
Do uses her knowledge and experiences to motivate youth to use their voices to create change. Currently she serves as editor-in-chief and publisher of The Verb, a newswire service telling the stories that matter. She has led three international delegations from South Africa, Brazil and Qatar for various UN conferences where young professionals like her communicate the importance of advocacy in promoting social justice. She is also the community coordinator for the Australian Conservation Foundation, managing more than 8500 volunteers and members for the design and implementation of various community engagement projects across her home country. Do takes community action to a new level as she strives to connect all sectors of society to create sustainable change locally and globally.