Palo Alto, California Wins Sister Cities International’s Innovation Award for Business and Trade

WASHINGTON, DC – Palo Alto, California has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Innovation Award for Business and Trade for a city with a population of 25,001-100,000. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

Neighbors Abroad of Palo Alto, California facilitated the first forestry-based carbon offset transaction between the United States and Mexico, and the first to apply the Mexican forest carbon sequestration protocol.  The transaction generated significant social, environmental and economic benefits in Oaxaca, while allowing the City of Palo Alto to satisfy obligations as a municipally owned gas utility to offset all greenhouse gas emissions.

The $136,000 transaction purchased 17,000 tons of carbon offsets was made through ICICO, a community-based environmental organization. Economic benefits included the generation of approximately 20 new jobs, jobs that keep families together thereby reducing pressure to migrate to the United States.  Neighbors Abroad is developing a new transaction in 2019 to extend the purchase across 6 years and 115,000 tons of carbon transferring $1,150,000 to community benefit managing 25,000 acres of tropical forest with anticipated benefit of over 100 new jobs.

“We all stand to learn from these superstar Sister City programs as they impact their communities across a broad range of sectors that include business entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and arts and culture,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Sister Cities International’s President & CEO. “These individuals and local organizations inspire us to be better citizens as their work exemplifies President Eisenhower’s vision of engaged international citizen diplomats. They create beneficial connections and lasting relationships which will help their communities today and for years to come.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; youth and education; and professional and technical exchange categories. We also honor a Volunteer of the Year and our Youth Leadership who demonstrate exceptional efforts to advance peace through citizen diplomacy. This year we will honor all our award winners during SCI’s 2019 Annual Conference from July 17-19 in Houston, Texas.

The conference will bring together hundreds of the most influential citizen diplomats and global leaders in diplomacy, foreign affairs, policy, business, and innovation to discuss, share examples, and network. This year’s theme, Cities Mean Business, will focus on smart and resilient cities, leadership development, and entrepreneurship as key building blocks of President Eisenhower’s vision of creating a more peaceful world through citizen engagement and international cooperation between cities.

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries on six continents. The sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote the organizations’ mission of creating world peace and understanding through programs and projects focusing on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development.

About Palo Alto Sister Cities

Contact: Bob Wenzlau (bwenaiau@neighborsabroad.org)


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