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Under2 Coalition Leadership Awards 2021: Meet the judges

16 August 2021, 10:30 BST 4 min read

We are delighted to announce the esteemed judging panel for the Under2 Coalition Leadership Awards 2021 – our first ever cross-coalition awards to recognise the trailblazing states and regions that are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved for the climate at a subnational level.

Our judges have been selected from across the climate sector and bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and first hand experiences of championing climate action at the state and regional level. 

  • Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, COP26
  • Helen Clarkson, CEO, Climate Group
  • Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, COP25
  • Aimee Barnes, Founder, Hua Nani Partners
  • Ken Alex, Director, Project Climate, UC Berkley 
  • Franz Untersteller, Under2 Coalition Global Ambassador

There’s still time left for Under2 Coalition members to enter the Awards ahead of the ceremony in November at COP26. Find out more about how to enter.

Application deadline: Friday, 10th September, 17:00 BST

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Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, COP26

Nigel Topping was the CEO of We Mean Business until December 2019, where he drove radical collaboration for climate action among NGOs working with the world's most influential businesses. Previously, Nigel was Executive Director of CDP, launching new programs and partnerships including supply chain, water, forests and cities.

Nigel has 18 years’ experience in the private sector, including as a member of the management board of the world's largest manufacturer of brake pads, TMD Friction. Nigel is a commissioner on the Energy Transitions Commission and has been instrumental in the launch of many collaborative initiatives such as Science Based Targets, Business for Nature and the Global Commons Alliance.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, Climate Group

Helen Clarkson joined Climate Group in 2017 as Chief Executive Officer. In addition to leading our growing organisation, she sits on the board of the We Mean Business Coalition, chairs the Finance & Audit Committee for the Sustainable Development Capital Energy Efficiency Income Trust, and is on the Mission Council for Pukka Herbs.

Previously, Helen worked at Forum for the Future where she founded the organisation’s US office. At Forum, Helen led work with large US corporations such as Target, Walmart, Nike, Gap, and Levi Strauss & Co. to solve complex sustainability challenges at both the organizational and broader systemic level.   

Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, COP25

Gonzalo Muñoz is a business entrepreneur and social change-maker at the forefront of environmental innovation in Chile, who reinvented the country’s recycling industry to usher in a future without waste. He did so by founding a recycling company in 2009 and, ever since, has been presiding over the expansion of the company to other parts of Latin America. His company produces a recycling station capable of recycling 90 percent of household solid waste.

In recognition of his leadership, Gonzalo was awarded the Circulars 2019 international prize at World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos and was also invited to join the New Plastics Economy advisory panel at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Aimee Barnes, Founder, Hua Nani Partners

Aimee Barnes has over 15 years’ experience in climate, energy and sustainability, spanning the state, federal and international levels, and the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

She currently runs Hua Nani Partners, a consulting practice that helps seed new ideas for next generation climate and energy solutions. She also serves as senior advisor to former Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. at the California-China Climate Institute, which was established to spur climate action and dialogue between California and China.  

Ken Alex, Director, Project Climate, UC Berkley 

Ken Alex spent eight years as a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Chair of the Strategic Growth Council, focusing on climate, environment, and land use issues.  Before joining the Governor’s Office, Ken was the Senior Assistant Attorney General heading the environment section of the California Attorney General’s Office, and the co-head of the Office’s global warming unit.

From 2000 to 2006, He led the California Attorney General’s energy task force, investigating price and supply issues related to California’s energy crisis. Ken is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a B.A. in political theory from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Franz Untersteller, Under2 Coalition Global Ambassador

Franz Untersteller was Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector for the state of Baden-Württemberg from May 2011 until March 2021. Following his 10-year term as Minister, he was appointed as Global Ambassador of the Under2 Coalition. The government of Baden-Württemberg is a founding member of the Under2 Coalition, together with California.

From as early as 1981, Franz Untersteller worked in Freiburg at the Öko-Institut e.V.; from 2002 to 2011 he was a member of the executive board. He won his political spurs between 1983 and 2006 as an advisor on environmental and energy policy to the parliamentary Green Party in Baden-Württemberg.