About the Global 500

About the Global 500 Award:
The Global 500 Award was launched in 1987 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to recognize and honor environmental and humanitarian achievement. This award was a tribute to success on the front lines of environmental action and honored individuals and organizations that combat environmental issues despite immense social, political and logistical obstacles. Prominent award winners include Jimmy Carter, Wangari Maathai, Jane Goodall and The World Wildlife Fund. The award recognized individuals of all ages and organizations of any size.

About the Global 500 Environmental Forum:
The formation of the Global 500 Environmental Forum at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro made it possible for laureates to support and communicate with one another on a continuing basis. Our website contains a searchable directory of over 600 laureates whose humanitarian and environmental work have touched the lives of millions of individual. We routinely provide updates regarding the initiatives of our constituents.

The Role of the Global 500 Environmental Forum:

  • Promotes awareness among individuals and organizations by publicizing and supporting the outstanding achievements of the Global 500 Laureates and “Friends of the Global 500 Forum.”

  • Serves as a forum for raising awareness of the pressing humanitarian and environmental issues facing our earth today.

  • Supports individuals and groups that are working to promote education and equality around the world.


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established in 1972 in response to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Since then, UNEP has held headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and handles issues related to regional and global environmental policy and implementation. The prestigious Global 500 Award was presented by the UNEP delegation from 1987 to 2003.The Global 500 Environmental Forum maintains cordial relations with the United Nations Environment Program and other UN organizations.

  • Acheim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, has written, “The Global 500 network represents a wealth of talent and wisdom which UNEP can and will continue to depend on. The Global 500 is a powerful and valuable tool for providing inspiration and leadership in caring for the environment.”