Launching the Eco-Innovation Award

Innovation at KKR

At KKR, we seek to promote value creation through the thoughtful management of environmental, social, and governance challenges and opportunities with our portfolio companies in private equity and certain other asset classes. Innovation plays an increasingly important role at KKR, and we strive to encourage environmental advancements through new processes and projects. In this spirit of innovation and value creation, we launched an Eco-Innovation Award for KKR portfolio companies.

"Recognizing that our companies have environmental opportunities that go beyond eco-efficiency, we developed an approach that spurs innovation and expands environmental solutions. We will continue working with our program partners to find new ways to drive both business and environmental value."

Henry R. Kravis and George R. Roberts
Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs

About the KKR Eco-Innovation Award

The Eco-Innovation Award was launched in June 2016 and is intended to encourage and reward KKR portfolio companies for innovative, environmentally beneficial projects or initiatives that create business value. The award recognizes the achievements of our portfolio companies and is intended to inspire them to identify new and enhanced ways of creating sustainable value.

Specifically, the award program is intended to:

2016 Award Winner: Qingdao Haier's Intelligent Air Conditioning

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 KKR Eco-Innovation Award: Qingdao Haier Co., Ltd. (“Qingdao Haier”), the white goods home appliance subsidiary of Haier Group. Qingdao Haier was selected for its development of energy-efficient air conditioners that reduce energy consumption using innovative technologies.

Qingdao Haier’s winning Haier Intelligent Air Conditioning project includes a series of nearly 100 energy-efficient inverter room air conditioners. These innovative consumer appliances feature six industry-leading technologies that use smart technology sensors to detect body movement and temperature, and thereby adjust the air conditioner output capacity accordingly. Learn more about its project here.

As the winner, Qingdao Haier was awarded both a financial prize to enhance its broader environmental initiatives as well as customized project enhancement support from KKR and KKR Capstone.


Honorable Mention: Capsugel’s Colmar Green Steam Project

We welcomed KKR and KKR Capstone employee participation in the Eco-Innovation Award by inviting employees to provide feedback on the Award finalists, and they selected Capsugel’s Colmar Green Steam Project for its innovative stakeholder collaboration to improve the company’s carbon footprint while benefiting the Colmar, France community.

Selection Process and Evaluation Criteria

KKR selected the winner with input from a panel of expert judges representing corporate and nonprofit expertise. Evaluation criteria included business value, environmental sustainability, and eco-innovation.

Expert Judging Committee

We were pleased to have an esteemed group of judges who were invited to participate on the Expert Judging Committee. The committee evaluated and scored the award finalists.

The 2016 judges include leaders across regions from KKR, KKR Capstonei, Environmental Defense Fund, BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), Walgreens Boots Alliance, and IDEO.

On the first Eco-Innovation Award winner, Qingdao Haier’s project, the judges remarked:

“These energy efficiency improvements will have a large scale impact on the growing domestic energy consumption in China. Given China’s commitments to the COP 21 Paris Agreement, incentives and pressure for greater efficiency will continue to rise, creating a competitive business advantage for Qingdao Haier."

"Qingdao’s Haier’s project exhibits a strong combination of environmental and commercial benefits. It delivers high business impact, high brand impact, and high environmental impact.”

“Qingdao Haier’s project falls within a gigantic category, which offers very meaningful potential impact.”

“Qingdao Haier’s Intelligent Air Conditioning is a top project because it applies innovation to such a critical area.”


ANNE ARLINGHAUS Director, KKR Capstone

Anders Borg

Anders Borg Director, Private Equity, KKR

William L. Cornog

William L. Cornog Member and Head, KKR Capstone

Richard Ellis

Richard Ellis Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walgreens Boots Alliance

Laura Gitman

Laura Gitman Vice President, BSR

Kristi Huller

Kristi Huller Director of Communications for the Americas, KKR

Ken Mehlman

Ken Mehlman Member and Global Head of Public Affairs, KKR

Thomas Murray

Thomas Murray Vice President, Corporate Partnerships Program, Environmental Defense Fund

Sakae Suzuki

Sakae Suzuki Managing Director, KKR Capstone

Lauren Yarmuth

Lauren Yarmuth Portfolio Director, Design for Change Studio, IDEO

Company and Project Eligibility

Eligible projects must have implemented a new or significantly improved product, service, or process that creates positive environmental and business impacts. We accepted entries from:

The award seeks to recognize projects that are considered innovative. Eco-innovation is described as the implementation of any new or significantly improved product/service or process that creates positive environmental and business impacts.


Icon Consumer

Customer-facing products or services

Icon Processes

Processes, including technology systems or manufacturing techniques

Icon Businessmodels

Business models or customer engagement approaches


  • Energy use reduction
  • Water use reduction
  • Waste disposal reduction or recycling
  • Sustainable material sourcing
  • Renewable energy use
  • Responsible or more efficient land use


  • Cost savings
  • Increased revenue
  • Access to new markets/customers
  • Increased customer satisfaction or engagement
    (e.g., Net Promoter Score)
  • Improved employee retention

Contact Us

For any questions or comments, email us at

i KKR Capstone is not an affiliate or subsidiary of KKR. Please see Description of Methodology and Terms for additional disclosure regarding KKR Capstone.