The Founder of Baltic Sea 2020, Björn Carlson, was honoured with the Swedbank Baltic Sea Award on November 5. The prize was handed over at a gala dinner at the Baltic Development Forum Summit in Tallinn 5 November by the President and CEO of Swedbank Group, Jan Lidén.
It is the first time the Swedbank Baltic Sea Award is handed out. The prize is assigned to an individual or organization that has made an extraordinary contribution to the development of the Baltic Sea region.
- Björn Carlson has in an exemplary way shown that personal dedication and charity is a vital driving force when assuming responsibility for global and regional environmental challenges, said the President and CEO of Swedbank Group, Jan Lidén
- The Baltic Sea is the main connecting factor for the Baltic Sea Region. Mr. Carlson’s private initiative is unparalleled and serves a fundamental purpose for our survival. I hope Mr. Carlson’s philanthropic deed sets an example for many to follow, said the Chairman of Baltic Development Forum Uffe Ellemann-Jensen.
Through the Baltic Sea 2020 Foundation, Björn Carlson has, in a unique way, managed to draw attention to the escalating pollution problems in the Baltic Sea and created a way to address these issues in practice. Björn Carlson founded the Baltic Sea 2020 in 2005 through a private donation of 500 million SEK and has since worked to stimulate creative interdisciplinary international collaboration in a variety of areas resulting in political, economic and physical measures to improve the environment of the Baltic Sea.
Björn Carlson was appointed among several strong candidates by a jury consisting of the Estonian Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip, Swedbank’s Executive Chairman Carl Eric Stålberg, and Baltic Development Forum’s Chairman, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. The prize sum is €5,000.
Swedbank Baltic Sea Award – Rationale
Water matters! Fresh and clean water is one of the few things in life we cannot do without. Water is of global fundamental importance as a food source, for the environment, for our climate, for transport, leisure and much more. Water is also the main connecting factor for the Baltic Sea Region. Throughout history, the Baltic Sea has carried its inhabitants throughout the world, from the days of the Vikings to the Hanseatic League. And the Baltic Sea is still a vital artery for our survival.
Still, while the people in the Baltic Sea Region pride themselves for being some of the most environmentally conscious people on earth, the fact remains that the Baltic Sea is one of the worst polluted and exploited waters in the world. In order not to loose our credibility in a global perspective and become branded as hypocrites, it is all of our responsibility to take action to save the Baltic Sea.
The winner of the Swedbank Baltic Sea Award 2007 has done just that. Through a personal contribution of 500 million SEK, this person has not only managed to highlight an issue of immediate urgency for the future quality of life and prosperity of the Baltic Sea Region, but has also managed to set an example of concrete action through building an organization that can do something concrete about it within a given time frame. In addition, through this philanthropic contribution a prime example has been set for similar personal engagement in society in the future.
For these reasons, Mr. Björn Carlson is the winner of the first Swedbank Baltic Sea Award. Mr. Carlson is the founder of Baltic Sea 2020, a foundation with an aim of stimulating creative interdisciplinary and international collaboration in a variety of areas resulting in political, economical and physical measures taken to improve the environment of the Baltic Sea over the coming decade.