Natalie Portman & Michael Bloomberg to Receive Honors at EMA Awards

Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Natalie Portman will be honored by the Environmental Media Association (EMA) with the EMA Ongoing Commitment Award at the 27th Annual EMA Awards Benefit on Sept. 23 at the historic Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. Three-term Mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg Media and author of Climate of Hope, Michael R. Bloomberg will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award; John Paul DeJoria will be honored with the Innovator Award; and Alan J. Fuerstman, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Montage International, will accept the Corporate Responsibility Award. It was previously announced that Jaden Smith will host the event and Russell Simmons will receive the Missions in Music Award. The EMA Awards annually recognize and honor environmental influencers and leaders who exemplify the commitment and effort to raise awareness of environmental issues.

"We are completely blown away by the slate of our 2017 honorees," said EMA President & CEO Debbie Levin. "Our mission is always about celebrating personal responsibility and solutions. These activists have taken it upon themselves to be proactive, take action, and make a change. Natalie, Michael, John Paul, and the Montage International properties are the epitome of what EMA represents and we couldn't be prouder to honor them this year."

Portman is the producer and narrator of the new documentary "Eating Animals" which takes a look into people's dietary choices and the food's origin. The film is based on Jonathan Safran Foer's book by the same title, which Portman credits for turning her from a twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist.

"It's up to each individual to decide to educate themselves, take responsibility, and make a change," said Portman. "I chose to adapt to a sustainable lifestyle after learning of the health risks and environmental effects that come with the mass production of ANIMALS. I want my children to look back and know that our generation challenged and combatted these threats. To receive this honor by the Environmental Media Association is a valuable reminder to me that I am not alone in this fight."

Three-term mayor of New York City, philanthropist and entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg founded Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has provided more than $100 million for various environmental initiatives on clean energy and oceans conservation. He also leads a number of bi-partisan coalitions on urgent issues including climate change, and since 2014 has served as the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. Following President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Michael Bloomberg stepped up with California Governor Jerry Brown to announce "America's Pledge," which brings together private and public-sector leaders to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions and delivers the country's ambitious climate goals of the Paris agreement. Additionally, Michael Bloomberg co-authored the New York Times best-selling book "Climate of Hope," with Carl Pope and his foundation, in partnership with RadicalMedia, produced From the Ashes, which explores the legacy and future of the coal industry in the U.S. The film, which is nominated for an EMA Award and premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, was distributed globally by the National Geographic Channel this past June.

"Fighting climate change is one of our greatest opportunities to save and improve lives. The more we raise awareness of the benefits of action, the faster we'll make progress, and I want to thank EMA and all the honorees who are helping to lead the way," said Michael R. Bloomberg.

DeJoria, co-founder of professional hair-care company, John Paul Mitchell Systems, and ultra-premium tequila brand, Patroìn Spirits has set the standard for giving in both industries. John Paul's commitment to caring for the planet is unwavering, whether it's planting trees, protecting animals or preserving natural resources. Under his direction, John Paul Mitchell Systems became the first professional beauty brand to publicly oppose animal testing, and the company has planted 300,000+ trees to offset their carbon footprint. Meanwhile, the Patroìn distillery has earned a clean industry award from the Mexican Federal Environmental Protection Agency for the company's efforts to reduce waste, clean the air, and sustain the environment. John Paul also maintains a steadfast commitment to protecting our waterways and their inhabitants through long-standing partnerships with Waterkeeper Alliance and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

"I believe it is the obligation of all companies to do something that benefits their city, community, country and planet," said DeJoria. "It is important to me personally to seek new ways to be sustainable, on both a corporate and personal level. Leading with a positive example shows that every one of us can, and should do a little something to make the world a better place-it's paying rent for our time here. Everyone can have an impact, and everyone benefits in the long run."

Alan J. Fuerstman, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Montage International, will accept the EMA Corporate Responsibility Award for the company's sustainable hotel and resort developments. The company operates Montage Beverly Hills, which was the first ultra-luxury Gold Certified) hotel in Southern California under the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for New Construction rating system. In addition, Montage Deer Valley was then the first LEED certified resort in the state of Utah.

"We are proud to receive the first ever EMA Green Seal for Hospitality," said Fuerstman. "Caring for our guests goes hand in hand with our commitment to caring for the environment. It's a fitting tribute to our hotel owners, developers, designers, construction teams, and the ongoing efforts of Montage associates that luxury and sustainability can be synonymous."

This year's EMA Awards will celebrate the 27th anniversary by looking toward the future, honoring exciting and innovative voices in the environmental world, and promoting solutions in innovation and activism to combat the current administration's rollback on funding. Toyota and Lexus will present the 27th Annual EMA Awards Benefit.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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