Schneider Electric and SSAB receive world’s first International Carbon Handprint Awards in New York


Global digital automation and energy management company Schneider Electric and Nordic steel company SSAB are recipients of the world’s first International Carbon Handprint Awards. The winners were announced on September 21 in New York during the Climate Week NYC conference by awards founders Climate Leadership Coalition and the Vancouver Economic Commission.

“Carbon handprint” is a key climate impact indicator that demonstrates how a product or service reduces consumers’ carbon footprint either by avoiding greenhouse gas emissions or by increasing carbon sinks. The International Carbon Handprint Award, which was introduced in 2022, features two categories: Most Climate Positive Carbon Handprint Product and The High Potential Carbon Handprint Innovation. The competition is open to any company in the world that manufactures products or sells services that help customers to reduce their carbon footprint.

Schneider Electric was awarded the Most Climate Positive Carbon Handprint Product Award for its Altivar variable speed drives (VSDs), smart, connected devices that gather data and share information to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, positively impacting profitability. SSAB earned The High Potential Carbon Handprint Innovation for HYBRIT, a revolutionary fossil-free steelmaking technology that helps to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions.

“The electricity consumption of industrial plants typically represents half their carbon footprint, while motors consume between 60 and 95 per cent. By optimizing the use of motors with Altivar VSDs, our customers avoided 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) between 2018 and 2021. Throughout the 12-year lifetime of the installed Altivar VSDs, they will avoid 117 MtCO2e more. Our overall aim is to avoid 800 MtCO2e between 2018 and 2025,” said Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Schneider Electric.

The magnitude of the avoided emissions can be compared to London’s emissions, for example. In 2019, the last year without COVID impacts, London’s greenhouse gas emissions were 31.4 MtCO2e.

“We are honoured to receive this award highlighting the need for breakthrough technologies. The steel industry accounts for approximately 7 per cent of total CO2 emissions globally. In 2016, we joined forces with LKAB and Vattenfall to create Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology (HYBRIT), which replaces coking coal with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. Since then, we have already delivered the world’s first fossil-free steel to Volvo Group. The potential of this technology is huge and we hope to inspire other value chains, so that we together can mitigate climate change,” said Martin Pei, Chief Technology Officer at SSAB.

The International Carbon Handprint Award jury also granted three companies Honorary Certificates: Neste MY Renewable Diesel in The Most Climate Positive Carbon Handprint Product category; and RM AirSeT, Schneider Electric’s gas-insulated switchgear, and thermal energy storage by the Polar Night Energy both in The High Potential Carbon Handprint Innovation category.

“Neste MY Renewable Diesel helps our customers to cut emissions from road transportation by an average of 90 per cent compared to using traditional fossil diesel, when taking into account the whole lifecycle of the fuel*. Avoided emissions were already over 10 MtCO2e in 2021, and we are committed to reduce our customers’ GHG emissions by at least 20 MtCOe2 annually by 2030 with our renewable and circular solutions,” said Salla Ahonen, VP of Sustainability, Neste.

“Our gas-insulated switchgear RM AirSeT uses innovative pure air technology to resolve the current challenge with sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), the world’s strongest greenhouse gas, in electric distribution networks. One kilogram of SF6 impacts the environment by as much as 25,200 kilograms of CO2 over 100 years. Replacing around 30 million existing SF6 installations offers over 1.000 MtCO2e potential to avoid greenhouse gas emissions,” said Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Schneider Electric.

”Our sand-based thermal energy storage makes it possible to upscale the production of uncontrollable renewable energy sources like solar and wind. It replaces fossil-based heating in district heating networks or process heat at industries. Mission Innovation estimated the potential for avoided emissions to be over 100 MtCO2e per year in 2030. Energy storage is a key enabler for the renewables-based energy system,” said Markku Ylönen, Co-Founder, Polar Night Energy.

“The jury congratulates the awardees and companies that received honorary certificates, as well as all other applicants. Without a wide variety of commercialised innovations, the Paris Agreement goals will not be reached. We hope these awards will encourage other companies to develop climate solutions with high carbon handprints and aim to have much bigger climate impact than just “net-zero”,” said Jouni Keronen, Co-Chair, Climate Leadership Coalition Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the jury.

“This inaugural award highlights the beginning of a journey to assist companies of all sizes to focus on developing products that are lower in overall emissions including the supply chain. By improving existing supply chains and distribution chains, companies will ultimately be helping their customers to lower their environmental footprint. Let’s hope the Carbon Handprint becomes an international standard from which to measure and report by,” said Bryan Buggey, Director, Economic Transformation & Climate Action, Vancouver Economic Commission and Co-Chair of the jury.

To learn how to calculate carbon handprint, read the Carbon Handprint Guide (2.0) by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and LUT University of Finland.

More information: Jouni Keronen, Co-Chair, Advisory Board, Climate Leadership Coalition,, +358 50 453 4881, Bryan Buggey, Director, Vancouver Economic Commission and Senni Raunio, Specialist, Project Development, Climate Leadership Coalition,, +358 50 3512390.

Climate Leadership Coalition (CLC) is the largest non-profit climate business network in Europe by membership. CLC was founded by a group of Finnish companies in 2014 and now CLC’s 94 organisational members employ globally 535,000 people and represent almost 70% of the market cap of the OMX Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange. CLC’s members believe that society’s transition towards a sustainable economy and consumption is not only possible but also economically viable.

The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) serves one of the world’s fastest-growing, low-carbon economies. VEC strengthens Vancouver’s economic future by providing programs, supporting local companies, attracting targeted high-impact investment, and conducting and publishing thoughtful leading-edge industry research. As the economic development agency for the City of Vancouver, VEC contributes to building a prosperous, inclusive, zero-carbon and resilient Vancouver economy, competitively positioned in the global market.

*Calculation method complies with the EU Renewable Energy Directive ((EU)2018/2001).