GEC Catalyst Awards

GEC Catalyst Awards

The mission of the Green Electronics Council (GEC) is to achieve a world in which only sustainable electronics are designed, manufactured and purchased. The GEC Catalyst Awards seek to inspire innovation in the design, manufacture and use of technology to advance sustainability globally. GEC provides two Catalyst Awards. The first is “Catalyzing Impact at Scale,” which recognizes organizations that have achieved a large-scale sustainability impact due to their design, manufacture and/or use of IT. The second is “Catalyzing Disruptive Innovation,” which recognizes organizations that have designed cutting-edge technologies or used technology in such a way that, if adopted widely, could lead to exponential sustainability gains. Each year the Catalyst Awards focus on a different theme.

In 2019, the GEC is exploring how sensors can contribute to global sustainability targets with its theme of Leveraging Sensor Technology to Build Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Cities. Our connected world, particularly smart cities, increasingly rely on data gathered by sensors. Millions of these small electronics are being designed and deployed globally, leading to a projected 13.2% compound annual growth rate for the sensor market through 2023, with estimates of one trillion sensors being deployed across the globe by 2020. Sensors have the potential to contribute significant to future sustainable and resilient cities, but will the sheer volume of these electronics, the upstream impacts of production and their disposition, lead to unintended consequences?

GEC is excited to partner in 2019 with one of the premier Smart City conferences, Ecocity World Summit 2019, and hold its award ceremony at the Summit in Vancouver, Canada, October 7 – 11, 2019. The Ecocity World Summit is the longest-standing international conference that addresses building cities in balance with nature. The Summit brings together a diverse mix of researchers, policy makers, city-building professionals, business innovators, and civil society leaders who share a commitment to creating socially just and ecologically sustainable cities.  See the Summit’s website for additional information.

2019 Eligibility and Nomination Requirements

The 2019 GEC Catalyst Awards seek to inspire innovation in the design, manufacture, use, reuse and recycling of sensors to advance sustainability in cities and communities globally. Nominations are open to any organization in the public or private sectors and public-private partnerships, from any geography, committed to promoting sustainable electronics. Nominations are being accepted for products, programs, and partnerships launched within the past five (5) years. The object of the nomination must be the intellectual property of the nominee or their organization. All nominations must be presented in English. Self-nominations and external nominations are both acceptable. All nominations submitted by an entity other than the proposed winner must describe their relationship. No entity may win two consecutive Catalyst Awards.

Opportunities for Recognition

The GEC Catalyst Awards provide an international platform to showcase sustainability achievements of and with electronics. Winning an Award provides public endorsement by independent and esteemed experts, and it grants inclusion in marketing efforts to promote the Winners’ accomplishments. GEC Catalyst Awards Finalists and Winners will be showcased via:

  • An awards ceremony at the Ecocity World Summit 2019, taking place the week of October 7-11, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Programmatic inclusion in Ecocity World Summit conference materials
  • A webinar featuring the GEC Catalyst Award winners as part of the GEC’s 5-part webinar series, Exploring the Hidden Impacts, Opportunities and Challenges of Smart Cities, with the webinar recording accessible on the GEC website
  • Promotion by GEC to multiple industry and procurement associations interested in sensors and smart city technology
  • Promotion on the GEC website and via a press release, GEC newsletters and social media
  • GEC co-marketing support for the winning entities
Nomination Application

Nominations must be submitted in PDF format and uploaded to this website using the “Submit Nomination” button below. All three sections of the Nomination Form (outlined below) must be completed to be eligible. Each question need not be answered in detail; responding to each will enable the Judging Committee to better evaluate the nomination. Quantitative data addressing the nomination’s sustainability and resiliency claims is not required but may strengthen the submission.

Call for Nomination

Section 1: Contact Information

Name of organization being recognized in the nomination (Will be made publicly available)

Contact information of person submitting nomination (Will NOT be made publicly available)

Section 2: Executive Summary

Nomination Name/Title (Will be made publicly available)

Brief description of nomination (Primarily for marketing; will be made publicly available). 500-word limit.

Executive Summary (Primarily for judging; will be made publicly available)

  • Should be limited to one (1) page
  • Summarize how your nomination advances sustainable and/or resilient smart cities through the design, purchase, use, reuse or recycling of sensors or sensor networks
  • Summarize the challenges faced by the innovation (economic, logistical, developmental, etc.) and how they have been (or will be) overcome
  • Summarize the short-term and long-term milestones and achievements

Section 3: Supporting Information

This section, which should not exceed 5 pages, allows nominees to explain why their initiative should be recognized. The information provided here will not be made public without the nominee’s consent.

Impact – Describe the demonstrated or projected sustainability and/or resiliency benefits of your nomination through the design, purchase, use, reuse or recycling of sensors or sensor networks for smart city applications. Impacts may be direct or indirect, immediate or long-term. Some aspects to consider:

  • How is the nomination superior to current solutions or best practices?
  • How broad is the impact (local, regional, national, international)? Is it transferrable to other cities, regions or countries?
  • Does your nomination have any potential sustainability trade-offs? 

Innovation – Describe why your nomination is innovative in its advancement of sustainable and/or resilient smart cities. (NOTE: GEC broadly considers “innovation” to be new technologies, processes, products or policies, or using existing electronics in a new way.)

  • How does your nomination compare to the current solution(s)?
  • How might your nomination inspire and/or be used by other organizations?

Commercial Viability – Describe how your nomination is viable in both the short- and long-term.

  • Can the nomination be scaled, or has it already been scaled, to widespread deployment?
  • Describe the short-term and long-term milestones for the innovation.
Selection Process and Judging Criteria

All nominations will go through an initial screening process by GEC for appropriateness, completeness, and the degree to which they address the requirements before being sent to an independent Judging Committee, comprised of experts in the field. Decisions of the Judging Committee will be based on the criteria below and calculated via scoring sheets. The Judging Committee will recommend two Winners based on the following weighted criteria:

  • Sustainability Impact (direct or indirect, demonstrated or projected) (50% of the final score)
  • Overall Innovation (25% of the final score)
  • Commercial Viability (25% of the final score)


The Committee’s decisions are final and may not be appealed.

Important Dates
  • April 10: Catalyst Awards nomination period begins
  • June 17: Catalyst Awards nomination period ends
  • June 24: Judging Committee begins reviewing nominations
  • August 2: GEC notifies the 2019 GEC Catalyst Awards Winners and Finalists of their status
  • October 7-11: Catalyst Awards ceremony held at the Ecocity World Summit 2019 in Vancouver
  • November 7: GEC hosts webinar featuring 2019 Catalyst Awards Winners


GEC is excited to partner in 2019 with one of the premier Smart City conferences, Ecocity World Summit 2019, and hold its award ceremony at the Summit in Vancouver, Canada, October 7 – 11, 2019. The Summit brings together a diverse mix of researchers, policy makers, city-building professionals, business innovators, and civil society leaders who share a commitment to creating socially just and ecologically sustainable cities. See the Summit’s website for additional information.

Legal Considerations

Information submitted in a nomination shall be the intellectual property of the applicant, should not infringe on others’ intellectual property, and shall not include confidential business information. Before submitting a nomination, confirm with the appropriate advisors or legal counsel that any intellectual property described in the plan is appropriately protected.

The awards ceremony may be open to the public. This session may be broadcast to interested persons through media that may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged by Award entrants in public sessions should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions.

The authors of the nomination submission will retain all copyrights to the submission regarding its use at all times prior to and following the Awards judging except as stated below. Due to the nature of the Awards, the Green Electronics Council will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.

The organizer of the Green Electronics Council’s Catalyst Awards may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including material prepared for use in the Awards ceremony. By entering the competition, you agree to grant a release to the organizers, sponsors and funding sources of the competition to use such materials without restriction. Additionally, four items that are required for registration may be shared by the Green Electronics Council publicly: 1. Nomination name/title, 2. Brief description of nomination, 3. Executive Summary, 4. Name of the organization being recognized in the nomination. For your protection, do not enter confidential information in any of these fields. The long nomination submission will only be seen by the staff of the Green Electronics Council and members of the Judging Committee.

2019 Catalyst Awards Judging Committee

Jean-François Barsoum

Senior Managing Consultant, Smarter Cities,
Water and Transportation, Innovation, Research & Development at IBM

Joey Dabell

Project Leader/Program Head, Smart Microgrid Applied Research team (SMART)
British Coumbia Institute of Technology

Jaime Ruiz Huescar

Co-Founder, Cities Forum

Melanie Nutter

Principal, Nutter Consulting

Carlo Ratti

Director, MIT Senseable City Lab
Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Association

Jason Whittet

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