Fire Awards for
Sustainable Finance


The Fire Awards for Sustainable Finance accelerated powerful, early-stage pilots and businesses that can unlock finance for clean energy and green growth.

Presented each year at the BNEF Future of Energy Summit in New York City, Fire Awards winners received business support to demonstrate viability, reach profitability, and/or scale impact.

2017 represented the last cycle of the Fire Awards, after which the program’s model, methods, and alumni were embedded into the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance.

The Challenge

Investment in clean energy, energy efficiency, and other activities to mitigate and adapt to climate change totaled USD 391 billion in 2014 (CPI, 2015). However, current spending on clean energy and green growth is insufficient to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius, with up to USD 16.5 trillion is needed to meet this goal between now and 2030. This requires a sea change in our economic system – from a high-carbon economy to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

The Vision

The Fire Awards sought to support and build momentum for early-stage pilots and businesses that were already showing promise through market testing or existing pilots, and needed help demonstrating viability, reaching profitability, and/or scaling impact. In particular, The Fire Awards provided profile-raising and business support to initiatives that demonstrated the potential to spur commercial investment and transformation in clean energy and green growth.


The Fire Awards ran in annual cycles.

If an initiative was selected by the Fire Advisory Board and Lab Members, the Champion and team for that initiative would:

  • Work with Climate Policy Initiative analysts, communications specialists, and industry experts to develop and practice a 3-minute pitch for the BNEF Future of Energy Summit
  • Deliver their pitch to hundreds of investors and leaders who attend the Summit

If an initiative was voted a Fire winner at the BNEF Future of Energy Summit, the team for that initiative would receive a set number of working days of support from Climate Policy Initiative and a Working Group of experts over the course of 3-4 months. The primary aim of this support was to assist Fire winners in reaching near-term milestones. Activities supported depended largely on the needs of the Fire Winner, but could include:

  • Market research and analysis
  • Assessment of financing structures
  • Investor landscaping
  • Pitch deck creation or refinement
  • Stakeholder outreach strategy

Expert support through Working Groups was generously provided on a volunteer basis from the Lab’s network of experts.