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:

2017 Award Winner: US Foods’ Serve Good Program

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 KKR Eco-Innovation Award: US Foods. As one of America’s great food companies and a leading foodservice distributor, US Foods partners with approximately 250,000 restaurants and foodservice operators to help their businesses succeed. The company provides its customers with a broad and innovative food offering and a comprehensive suite of e-commerce, technology and business solutions. US Foods was selected as the 2017 Award Winner for its Serve GoodTM product line. Serve Good products provide customers with third-party verified offerings that meet the brands’ criteria on sustainability, including responsible sourcing and waste reduction, and allows its customers to serve high quality ingredients while also considering the environmental and social impact of its offerings.

As part of US Foods commitment to making a positive impact in the food industry and communities, the Serve Good line was launched in 2016 and as of June 2017 had sold over 3.1 million cases. Serve Good currently offers more than 260 products, with nearly a quarter of US Foods customers ordering the products every month.

As one of the first foodservice companies to address the market void of sustainable products, US Foods is able to drive the conversation on how sustainability should be defined and what criteria should be used as verification. Serve Good products are defined as products that are responsibly sourced, or contribute to waste reduction and meet at least one of the following criteria: Organic, Non-GMO, Sustainable Seafood, Animal Care, Waste Reduction, or Responsible Disposables. The products will either be 3rd party verified, government regulated, or internally verified. This approach reduces environmental impact across the value chain, from land use and seafood harvesting to packaging materials to end of use disposal options. And in addition to the positive environmental impacts, the Serve Good is designed to demonstrate business value, through increased customer loyalty and revenue. Learn more about Serve Good here.

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


US Foods CEO Pietro Satriano with the Serve Good Team at the 2017 Eco-Innovation Award Presentation

Honorable Mention − 2nd Place: OVH’s Data Center Efficiency Project

We welcomed KKR and KKR Capstone employee participation in the Eco-Innovation Award by inviting employees to vote on the Award finalists. Employees selected OVH’s Data Center Efficiency Project, “30% air cooling + 70% water cooling = 0% air conditioning,” for its integrated approach to reducing the company’s environmental impact with data center design that incorporates air flow and water cooling to reduce energy needed for cooling.

The Expert Judging Committee also scored OVH’s project highly and it earned second place. They noted the impact of OVH’s work by stating, “We recognize projected growth of energy use in data centers as a key challenge and applaud OVH for continuing to innovate in this competitive sector.”

OVH’s main business is to provide cloud services. Electricity is one of the main cost components of cloud providers. As part of its efforts to reduce the use of energy, all of OVH’s data centers use a combination of water-cooling technology and building design instead of air conditioning to cool its servers.

Through this and other tactics, OVH has achieved a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.09 (compared to the industry average of 1.7), which means that the company’s operations are approximately 36% more energy efficient than an average data center.

You can learn more about OVH’s progress and global footprint at


Past Award Winners

In 2016, Qingdao Haier’s Intelligent Air Conditioning won the KKR Eco-Innovation Award and Capsugel’ s Colmar Green Steam Project received Honorable Mention.

Expand to learn more

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.

Partnering with BSR

KKR partnered with BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) to develop and manage the Eco-Innovation Award. BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. BSR draws on its global reach, broad cross-industry experience, and deep expertise in a range of ESG topics to advance sustainability with both businesses and the investor community. KKR has been a BSR member since 2010.

In 2016, KKR and BSR began working together to determine the Eco-Innovation Award objectives, eligibility guidelines, selection process, and criteria. BSR provides guidance on external judges, support in selecting the finalists, and overall process management. In addition, BSR and KKR involve their senior leaders, engage KKR employees, and leverage both organizations’ external networks.

BSR continues to be a thought partner in the management of the Eco-Innovation Award and collaborates with KKR on other initiatives to advance sustainability through innovation. To learn more about BSR, visit

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 2017 judges include leaders across regions from KKR, KKR Capstone,i Environmental Defense Fund, BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), Walgreens Boots Alliance, and SolarReserve. On the 2017 Eco-Innovation Award winner, US Foods’ project, the judges remarked:

"US Foods has the opportunity to dramatically scale demand for sustainable and responsible products across foodservice industry once Serve Food is fully implemented.”

“US Foods did an impressive job identifying key risks related to ‘what is actually a sustainable product,’ as I think that confusion can be abused by others.”

“US Foods really understands its customers and Serve Good has pushed the company into new territory, which sets it apart from its competitors in a cut-throat field. I think this builds a long-term sustainable advantage that will benefit all of US Foods’ product lines.”

William L. Cornog

William L. Cornog Member and Head, KKR Capstone

Tara Davies

Tara Davies Managing Director and Head of European Infrastructure, KKR

Richard Ellis

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

Laura Gitman

Laura Gitman Senior Vice President, BSR

Kristi Huller

Kristi Huller Director of Communications for the Americas, KKR

Abhishek Kapur

Abhishek Kapur Director, KKR Capstone

Vini Letteri

Vini Letteri Director, Private Equity & TMT Growth, KKR

Stephen Mullennix

Stephen Mullennix CFO & SVP, Operations, SolarReserve

Thomas Murray

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

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.

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
  • Raw material use reduction
  • Waste disposal reduction/recycling
  • Toxics use reduction
  • Sustainable material sourcing
  • Renewable energy use
  • Product recyclability/reusability
  • 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.