Stanford’s top environmental accolade—the 2016 Bright Award­—went to Polly Courtice, founding director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, for her efforts in guiding decision makers to reach more sustainable practices. What Courtice started in the early 1990s with one weeklong program to inform and advise business leaders on how to improve the sustainability of their operations grew into an institute with thousands of alumni in business executive and leadership roles. Courtice balances the institute’s message of improving environmental sustainability while increasing economic growth by discussing not only the risks of being slow to respond but the benefits of early adoption of sustainable technologies and practices.

The Stanford Bright Award, co-sponsored by the Stanford Law School and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, honors individuals who have made significant contributions to sustainability and environmental conservation in different regions of the world with a $100,000 prize.