CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- Volkswagen Chattanooga has been awarded the prestigious Gold 2012 Edison Green Award, the highest honor among Green Award winners.

The award recognizes "excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison, inspiring the drive to remain in the forefront of innovation, creativity and ingenuity in the global economy."  The Green Award specifically recognizes the environmental and sustainability achievements at Volkswagen Chattanooga.

Recently Volkswagen's Chattanooga manufacturing plant received platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program. The facility is the first and only automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the Platinum certification.

Representatives from the year-old manufacturing facility accepted the honor at the 25th annual Edison Awards Gala in New York City on April 26.

"The new factory in Chattanooga is an important cornerstone in Volkswagen's worldwide ‘Think blue. Factory' initiative " said Dr. Jan Spies, Head of Plant Structure Planning for Volkswagen AG in Germany. "The ‘Think blue.Factory' initiative is Volkswagen's worldwide commitment to improve its environmental efficiency in automotive manufacturing by 25% until 2018. We are honored to receive this award from an organization that prioritizes sustainable solutions and green business models."

Edison Award nominees were judged by a panel of more than 3,000 individuals, including members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), an organization comprising America's top marketing professionals and academics.

The panel also included professionals from the fields of product development & design, engineering, science and education.   Award nominees were judged against evaluation criteria that included concept, value, impact and delivery.

Prior to receiving the 2012 award, Volkswagen Chattanooga was named a finalist for the 2011 Edison Green Award. In 2011, the factory also received the Tennessee Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award as well as Platinum LEED certification.