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How can industry innovate to meet the challenges of sustaining a healthy climate while meeting societal demands for goods and services?
Submit proposals:
Rules: All entrants must agree to the Contest Rules and Terms of Use.
Deadline: Monday, May 23, 2016 at 19:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time
Judging Criteria & Prizes: See below.


Industry is a key contributor to economic growth and prosperity, and has been the primary engine of economic development over the last century.  It is also a leading global source of greenhouse gases. The International Energy Agency estimates that, to meet global GHG reduction goals, emission reductions of 60-80% will be necessary. Industry is also an important source of innovation and rich with mitigation opportunities: resource efficiency (e.g. energy, materials, water); reducing process emissions of non-CO2 GHGs; industrial ecology; supply chain logistics and geography; manufacturing efficiency; CO2 capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); and enhanced use of renewables are just some of the areas in which there is great potential for paradigm-shifting progress.

The industry contest seeks innovative, well-described, actionable solutions that will enable continued global economic growth while achieving major emission reductions in the industrial sector over the course of the next decades.

Key Issues

Industry contributes to GHG emissions through on-site generation of electricity and heat from fossil sources, industrial processes that directly release CO2, methane, and other high impact greenhouse gases, as well as the carbon footprint of the materials and resources utilized in its processes and supply chains.

Opportunities for mitigation arise in each of these sectors.  The most promising of these link emissions reductions to profitable activities, such as conversion of wastes to useful inputs or products, increased efficiency. Other benefits include enhanced stability and competitiveness in uncertain markets.

Some of the key areas for exciting innovation are listed below.  These are only a sampling of the possibilities; the breadth of opportunity for improvement is vast.  We encourage contest participants to seek imaginative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-boundary solutions.

Judging Criteria

Judges will be asked to evaluate proposals on the following criteria: feasibility, novelty, impact and presentation quality.  Winning proposals will be especially strong in at least one of the first three dimensions, and also well presented.  For details about the judging criteria, click here.

You can find the proposal template here, and contest schedule here.


Top proposals in each contest will be awarded...

Judges’ Choice Winner – Strongest overall
Popular Choice Winner – Received the most votes during the voting period
Impact Award – Largest impact and highly feasible
Novelty Award – Most innovative

The Judges’ and Popular Choice Winners will be invited to MIT to present their proposal, enter the Climate CoLab Winners Program and be eligible for the $10,000 Grand Prize. All award winners will receive wide recognition and visibility by the MIT Climate CoLab. 

All Finalists are asked to submit a 3-minute video outlining their proposal.  Videos will be featured on the MIT Climate CoLab website and Winners will show their videos at the conference.

If your proposal is included in a top global climate action plan, you will receive CoLab Points, which are redeemable for cash prizes.  

Resources for Proposal Authors

General Literature on Industry Emissions, Technologies, and Policies

Energy Information Agency. Manufacturing energy consumption survey for the US

US Environmental Protection Agency. GHG emissions in the U.S.

Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC)

Industrial energy and material efficiency: What role for Policies?

Institute for Industrial Productivity

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)  

Mitigation Technologies

International Energy Agency Energy Technology Perspectives

Example of a roadmap for industry needs: European Paper industry

UNIDO Cleaner and Sustainable Production resource list

 Europe’s Zero Emissions Platform

The Bellona Foundation


US Department of Energy's advanced manufacturing program

Energy Efficiency

US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan

Advanced Energy Economy’s State Tool for Electricity Emissions Reduction

US Environmental Protection Agency's energy star resources

European Union energy efficiency roadmap

Asian Development Bank's Review of Energy Efficiency Interventions

Energy Efficiency Policies in the United States (multiple sectors)

Tracking Energy Efficiency and CO2 emissions from the International Energy Agency

Industrial Efficiency resources from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

System analysis

Data management & visualization

Business Model & Project Investment

Business sustainability

Creative Technologies


Photo credit: Georgie Pauwels