There are a number of scientific and academic magazines (like MIT’s Technology Review, also available online) distributed in the US, which disseminate data about advances in science and technology to an academic as well as general audience. The ground-breaking advances in scientific research described by these journals contain the seeds of the new technologies needed to move towards a sustainable world. These publications inspire and encourage students and researchers to explore the topics further and find the connections that lead to further advances, including widespread commercialization. However, due to a variety of circumstances, including lack of access or money, most students at institutions of higher education in developing countries in the English-speaking world (such as India) do not get access to these publications. At the same time, excess and unsold copies of the publications are destroyed without their value being fully utilized.


We propose to obtain donated copies of the magazines from the publishers, and distribute them in developing countries to libraries of schools and colleges where the subject matter would be of maximum interest, and where the readership would be maximized. This would give access to the educational content to students who would otherwise not have it. The publications would be clearly stamped “Donated copy. Not for sale” so the generosity of the donor would be acknowledged, and to prevent unauthorized resale. Also, the process of periodic distribution would itself take several months, so the publisher would not lose any sales to those who might otherwise buy the publication.


MIT’s Technology Review has generously agreed to donate their magazines for distribution. We seek other public-spirited publishers who want to make a contribution to the dissemination of useful knowledge around the world.


Sustainability is profitable. Corporations committed to sustainability have a superior profit record, and increasing investor interest. Sustainable index funds are a fast rising sector of the overall investment market. It is a favorite sector for venture capital.


FSF sponsors top business schools from around the world to send teams to submit business plans for vetting by a an experienced group of venture capitalists and experts, at an established Business Plan Competition, to compete for cash prizes and practical assistance in realizing their scalable business plans which have a measurable benefit to global sustainability.

FSF Competition Judging Template (Rev Dec 19, 2007)

Examples of Business Projects that Increase Global Sustainability:

Partner Invitation:

Foundation for a Sustainable Future (FSF) partners with leading progressive organizations and universities which hold business plan competitions, to sponsor prizes for replicable and scalable business projects that would increase global sustainability. Please contact us if you are interested in adding a Sustainable Technology Venture Prize to your existing Business Plan Competition.

Business Plan Format:

There are many possible business plan formats. Please choose one that works for your project, and also is brief, to the point, and contains enough information to judge the merits of your proposal. It should be geared towards a venture capitalist to whom you are pitching your proposal for funding.

Please make sure you address the various aspects. For a guide, see:
Sample Business Plan Format
Tactics and strategy in presenting Business Plans (video)

The Sustainability Impact

Describe the impact of your business on global sustainability.
How would anyone know how much of an impact you have made?

Each plan will be evaluated for its sustainability benefits. Teams must submit a 3-5 page synopsis (in PDF-WORD-EXCEL) tabulating the sustainability benefits of the project, e.g. climate change mitigation, energy efficiency, beneficial materials (toxicity, efficiency, renewables etc), clean-tech, water security, species impacts, habitat preservation, etc. Contestants will have to discuss the metrics by which your project’s benefits are quantified, as a key part of the intellectual and analytical process of determining what sustainability entails. Quantify as much as possible and mention both short-term (1-2-3 years) and long-term (10 years) impacts..

Current Business School and Sustainable Technology Venture Partnerships

Carnegie-Mellon University / Tepper Business School / McGinnis Competition: Sustainable Tech Track: Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA has added a special Sustainable Technology Track for the third year, co-sponsored by FSF, to their prestigious McGinnis Venture Competition scheduled to be held March 11-13, 2010.

FSF is offering Travel Grants to eligible entrants from Africa, South America and Europe, click through to see details and for the application.

CMU Poster: Invitation to Participate Pictures from the 2007 competition, won by Peking University

McGinnis/Tepper Registration and Intent to Compete deadline: February 23, 2010
McGinnis/Tepper Plan Submission Deadline: March 2, 2010
McGinnis/Tepper competition, Pittsburgh USA: March 11-13, 2010
McGinnis/Tepper General Judging Criteria;
McGinnis/Tepper Additional Sustainability Judging Criteria
The Sustainability judging criteria include certain other benchmarks, such as decreasing demand for non-renewable resources, adding supply of renewable resources, reduction of greenhouse gases, removing toxins from the environment, increasing sustainability for non-human species, scalability/replicability etc.

FSF has partnered with Eureka! – the biggest Business Plan compeititon in Asia, now in its 10th year for “Cleantech Business Plans” . Eureka is the Entrepreneurship cell of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay. One of Eureka’s distinguishing features is the intensive mentoring that each team receives from induistry executives between submission of the executive summary and the selection of finalists.

* Rules
* Eligibility
* Submission Guidelines
* Schedule

Executive summaries are due on October 4, 2008, finalist selection on January 18, 2009, and live presentations on February 8, 2009.

The two winning teams will be awarded cash prizes of Rs. 1,00,000 and Rs. 70,000 respectively to enable them to travel to and compete in the Global competition at Carnegie-Mellon University for further prizes. To be eligible for the FSF prizes and to participate at the McGinnis Global competition at CMU , a team must include at least one MBA or management student at the Master’s level, and be registered for the CMU competition.

For any queries contact : Paras Jain [email protected]

Scoring template

— Sustainable Technology Business Plan Competition co-sponsored with the William James Foundation,

The qualification criteria for the FSF’s Richard Heinberg Prize are the same as they are for the William James Foundation. Detailed criteria can be found at

* Entries should be emailed to [email protected].
* Entries sent by email or online form must be readable by either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF reader.
* The summaries should be between three and five pages plus up to a page that focuses specifically on sustainability. Your submission can be shorter, if concise. Longer entries for the first round are submitted at your own risk: verbosity will be marked against you.

Submit your first-round entry by Friday, December 12th, by 5pm Eastern time.

* You should learn if you are invited to our 2nd round on Friday, January 16th. Whether you make it to the 2nd round or not, you will receive feedback.
* If you are invited, the full plans must be submitted by 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, February 20th.

To be considered for the sustainability prize, you should go into great detail on Environmental sustainability benefits of your enterprise. Your detailed analysis of quantifiable and measurable sustainability benefits resulting from your business during the period covered by the business plan; for example an LED or fluorescent bulb company could calculate the reduction in CO2 emissions resulting from the reduced energy usage.

The 2008 Winners were:

1st Place: Biodiversity and Company
2nd Place: Green Pieces
3rd Place: Akan Energy

Entire list of finalists.

— We are pleased to announce the 3nd Annual Al Gore Sustainable Technology Venture Competition in partnership with IIFT, one of the most prestigious business schools in India, host of the Quo Vadis series. Teams of MBA and Master’s level management students in collaboration with technical and engineering students from India’s top-ranked academic institutions, mentored by their professors, will present their sustainable tech business plans, and compete for cash prizes, and the opportunity to represent their institution, and India, at the Tepper / McGinnis competition in Pittsburgh March 11-13, 2010.

Summaries of the entries will be made available on the web, to inspire others to replicate the projects.
For details from the IIFT website:

The finals will be held approx December 3-4, 2009 in New Delhi, to select the winners.
Judges of the contest will include national experts in their respective fields, including venture capitalists, angel investors and successful entrepreneurs
2008 Panel of Judges

For further information, please contact:
Prof. Ruppal Sharma at [email protected]
Soft copies of document to be sent to: [email protected]

FSF-IIFT Competition Judging Criteria

Important Dates:
Al Gore Competititon Abstract submission deadline: October 10, 2009
Al Gore Competition Complete Business Plan Application deadline: November 5, 2009
Al Gore Competition announcement of shortlist: November 20, 2009
Al Gore final team presentations at IIFT, New Delhi, India: approx December 3-4, 2008
Finalists should also note the Tepper competition deadlines and details above.
Please plan to meet the time and documentation needs for US visas/visit.

IIFT 2009 Invitation to Participate

IIFT 2008 Poster: Invitation to Participate

The concept of Sustainability addresses the critical issues of population growth, increases in per capita consumption, limited renewable and non-renewable resources, anthropocentric government laws and policies, externalities not being incorporated into economic and business models, human impacts on other species and ecological systems, etc.

For the purposes of these competitions, “sustainable technology” is defined as products or services using new or innovative technologies or processes to enhance the usability and effectiveness of renewable resources, lead to lower costs and waste, and measurably reduce adverse environmental impacts in product life cycles which might constrain future generations, ie projects that will increase sustainability on the planet.

Applications of “sustainable technology” are possible in many industry segments, such as energy, transportation, engineered materials and chemicals, climate change, transforming environmental toxics, to name just a few. These projects should be designed to ensure that the world continues to be livable for the indefinite future. Sustainable technology principles are the foundation of countless new entrepreneurial ventures by those interested in effecting changes in the social, political and economic paradigms needed for a sustainable future. FSF’s competitions catalyze this process.

Context: Political and public policy changes are needed to move the world towards sustainability.

Project: We intend to educate, inform, and provoke debate within the public policy community, through a prestigious public policy competition, open to students at the leading public policy schools both in the USA and overseas.

Each year, we will choose a provocative topic, and through the medium of the competition, get students involved with these issues, reading about and researching all the data, so that they brainstorm out-of-box solutions which will be presented to experts for review.

They will address political, economic, and structural impediments to the implementation of the proposals and suggest solutions to these barriers, to the “politics of possibility”.

Political systems and principles that either foster or hinder the development or implementation of policy solutions will be evaluated

The academic community will be involved as well, as university professors coach and mentor their teams.

A new economic theory of sustainability will eventually need to be developed, which takes into account the physical constraints and limits of the planet, incorporation of externalities into business and economic models, interactions of various policy prescriptions, the rights of other species, evolving definitions of the quality of life, and the role and promise of technology.

We have partnered with the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie-Mellon University, the first of several


Classical Western-culture/values-based economic theory is not providing the models and policy prescriptions that are needed to stave off what appears to be a foreseeable collision in the next several decades between economic consumption expectations and desires in the developing world versus the dwindling resources available to satisfy them, and concurrently provide adequately for the future.


We propose the development of a new branch of economic theory, called Sustainability Economic Theory which expressly models and provides for:

  • inclusion of externalized costs
  • boundary conditions and resource limits
  • impacts on other species
  • appropriate discount rates for valuing the future environment and quality of life
  • sustainable harvesting of renewable resources
  • recyling and re-use of non-renewable resources

The development of Sustainability Economic Theory will provide the foundation for policy solutions, such as incentives (eg investment credits, cap and trade), pricing mechanisms (eg carbon tax) and regulations (eg limits on rainforest destruction, or species protections and reserves) that will help move the global economic system to a sustainable and equitable equilibrium.

Premise: In 1947, the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago published a symbolic clockface: the analogy was “minutes to midnight”, where midnight represents destruction of the human race by nuclear war.

The number of minutes before midnight, a measure of the degree of nuclear, environmental, and tech nological  threats, is updated periodically. The clock is currently set to five minutes to midnight, having been advanced by two minutes on January 17, 2007. The Doomsday Clock caught the imagination of the media and the world, and has helped focus political and societal pressure towards alleviating the threat.

While the Atomic Scientists focus on nuclear threats, the environmental threats facing the world, while not as immediate, are equally important. Changes in population, global warming and climate change, depletion of non-renewable energy and other resources, food production methods and capabilities, water availability and usage, renewable resource adoption and deployment, recycling issues, and technology in various arenas are some of the factors that affect the sustainability of the world.

Project: Expressing the long-term sustainability of the planet in this format may be somewhat controversial and dramatic, but will help focus attention and energy on solving the problems that threaten the human race on planet Earth.

Partners: We seek institutional partners who have data, or can model the key variables of sustainability for the human race on Planet Earth. The process of envisioning a sustainable future will provide signposts and goals in a number of areas which public policy institutions and political leaders can use to generate the cultural and economic changes the world will have to undergo as it moves towards sustainability. Please contact us if you are an academic institution interested in partnering with us.


Business is critical part of the solution to global sustainability as the institution which can most effectively and efficiently implement and disseminate change in the global economic


Addressing global ecological problems such as clean, renewable, non-toxic energy, water conservation and recycling, raw material use, depletion and recycling, etc have all come to the fore as nations and societies wrestle with these issues and seek to solve the problems inherent in the converging trends of rapidly growing populations, and increasing consumption patterns, that inevitably conflict with the natural limits of the physical world.

The principles of economics apply to human behavior in distributing scarce/desirable resources. If the world is to move towards sustainability, business has a major role to play by being “part of the solution”. Consequently, a new paradigm has come into being, that “one can do well by doing good”.

There are already many visionary business leaders who have started and completed projects that are moving the world towards sustainability. We seek to recognize and acknowledge them and their accomplishments.


An annual award that recognizes business leaders who have already made a major difference in moving the world towards sustainability through their projects, processes or policies. These awards may be national, regional, or global. Major business organizations will be our partners and co-sponsors of these awards, and the awards event, typically at the annual meeting of the organization, would celebrate the contribution that the individual/s being recognized, and the business community as a whole makes towards moving the world towards sustainability.


The business community has a vital role to play in this quest. We seek to recognize and acknowledge the business leaders who have already stepped up to the plate. To do so, we are partnering with Chambers of Commerce, Business/Industry Associations and similar institutions which are committed to a sustainable future and have recognized a duty to the generations to come. We will sponsor prizes and awards to acknowledge the contributions made by business and industry in the journey towards sustainability. Please contact us if you are an business association interested in partnering with us.

Fiber Futures is a dedicated advocacy and consulting group that focuses on catalyzing the use of agricultural residues and fibers from non-wood plants for building materials, pulp & paper, textiles and other industries.

As an advocacy group, Fiber Futures has built bridges with industry to convey the benefits, opportunities and challenges of using non-wood fiber resources.

To promote enterprise development of such opportunities, Fiber Futures provides a variety of technical assistance services such as engineering assessments, market research, business plan refinement, educational forums and financing expertise.


Produced by Participant Productions and distributed by Paramount Vantage Pictures, the Al Gore movie “An Inconvenient Truth” has been seen by many tens of millions in the English-speaking world. It has presented and interpreted data that has had signal impact in the public consciousness, ignited unprecedented editorial and public debate, and precipitated a re-ordering of national priorities.

In addition, it has provided the political impetus to make meaningful changes in energy policy and the consumer culture, and will possibly result in legislation needed to move the US and global economy in the direction of the new paradigms needed by the human race to survive and thrive in this century.

While English is a very popular language, it is spoken by less than a billion people, or less than 13% of global population. Mandarin Chinese (about 1.4 billion), Hindi (400 million), and 5 other major languages (each over 50 million) spoken on the Indian subcontinent together account for another 2.6 billion native speakers, or another 40% of global population.

A Spanish language (380 million speakers) version of the movie is being distributed, but other non-English languages account for the vast majority of native speakers in the rapidly expanding global economy.

It is crucial to inform, educate and mobilize these populations, whose expectations have been raised about participation in the global energy-dependant economy, with the message embedded in the movie. Together, these constitute a critical mass.


To dub “An Inconvenient Truth” into major non-English languages, particularly in India and China, and distribute the movie for maximum impact to schools, colleges and in the popular media via DVD.

The message particularly needs to be heard by parts of the developing world that are rapidly stepping up use of hydrocarbons, with resultant global warming impact.

The intention is to create the political will in rapidly industrializing countries to adopt the kinds of limits proposed by the Kyoto protocols, and make other changes necessary to attain a sustainable world.

Paramount’s India licensee Saregama has completed translating AIT into Hindi, the principal language in India and now awaits final approval from the Indian government for public release. Once it has completed its commercial release in several months, FSF, in partnership with Saregama, expects to distribute AIT to a variety of nonprofits, rural villages, educational institutions and the corporate sector for broad dissemination.

Paramount is scheduled to complete the Chinese language version by March 2008, after which distribution will commence.


We seek additional partners in the nonprofit, educational and government sectors and support from the institutional sector for translation into other languages and for distribution, to broadly expand this impact of the message to youth and the rural sector nationwide. We particularly seek partners for translation and distribution in China.