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Nike, 3M, Vodafone Score Richard Branson's Gigaton Prizes

Small corporate sustainability measures are important, to be sure, but nothing indicates a commitment to saving the planet more than drastic emissions cuts. That's where the Gigaton Awards come in. Developed by Sir Richard Branson's non-profit Carbon War Room, the awards ceremony highlights "outstanding performances as defined by measurable carbon reductions and quantifiable steps towards sustainability."

The first annual Gigaton Awards, handed out at this month's climate change conference in Cancun Mexico, highlighted leaders in six sectors: Vodafone Group in Telecommunications, Suzlon in Energy, Reckitt Benckiser Group in Consumer Staples, 3M in Industrial, Nike in Consumer Discretionary, and GDF Suez in Utilities. 3M also took the top prize—the Gigaton Best in Class award.

How were they chosen? The Gigaton Awards website explains:

Selection of nominees is based on reductions in emissions intensity between fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009, with emissions intensity defined as CO2e emissions per dollar revenue. Within each of the six sectors, companies were ordered based on reductions in emissions intensity. The top five companies that have achieved the greatest reductions in their emissions intensity are the nominees.

The winners also achieved recognition for other accomplishments; GDF Suez, for example, is one of the lowest CO2 per kilowatt-hour emitters in Europe.

Each winning nominee took home an Yves Behar-designed trophy—and some serious bragging rights. 3M gets to keep its Best in Class Award until next year, when it hands the trophy over to another carbon reduction powerhouse.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.