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Sustainability Talks

Prince William Announces 15 Finalists for Inaugural Earthshot Environmental Prize

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LONDON, England - The Earthshot Prize announces today its first-ever shortlist of 15 Finalists, each with a chance of winning £1million to support their innovative environmental solutions to the greatest challenges facing the planet.   

Prince William said: "Over half a century ago, President Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ programme united millions of people around the goal of reaching the moon.  Inspired by this, The Earthshot Prize aims to mobilise collective action around our unique ability to innovate, problem solve and repair our planet.

“I am honoured to introduce the 15 innovators, leaders, and visionaries who are the first ever Finalists for The Earthshot Prize.  They are working with the urgency required in this decisive decade for life on Earth and will inspire all of us with their optimism in our ability to rise to the greatest challenges in human history.”

Launched by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in October 2020, The Earthshot Prize is the most prestigious global environment prize in history. Like President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ did almost 60 years ago, the Prize aims to unleash an unprecedented wave of innovation and leadership to tackle the challenges posed by climate change and the threats to our oceans, air, and land.

The Prize is an urgent call to action to the world and aims to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism, by championing inspiring leadership and helping to scale incredible cutting-edge solutions.  It will discover 50 winners over 10 years with the power to repair the planet.

A truly global project, The Earthshot Prize has been developed by The Royal Foundation, which convened a diverse nominator coalition of more than 200 people and organisations around the world from every continent, a distinguished Expert Advisory Panel, and The Earthshot Prize Council comprising influential individuals committed to championing positive environmental action. 

Five of these 15 Finalists announced today will be awarded The Earthshot Prize and will win £1million in Prize funding for the best solutions of the five Earthshot goals: Protect and Restore Nature; Clean our Air; Revive our Oceans; Build a Waste-free World; and Fix our Climate.  The Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony on 17th October from London’s Alexandra Palace, broadcast in the UK on BBC One and globally on Discovery.  

The inaugural 15 Finalists were assessed by the Expert Advisory Panel of scientific, academic, and subject-matter leaders.  Each of the Finalist’s solutions excelled in the rigorous screening process and were assessed on their potential to create game-changing impact around the world, their ability to help us reach our Earthshot goals while also positively impacting people, communities and the natural world.

The Earthshot Prize Finalists for 2021 are:

Protect and Restore Nature:

  • Pole Pole Foundation, Democratic Republic of Congo

An inspiring community-led model of conservation that protects gorillas and local livelihoods.

  • The Republic of Costa Rica 

A pioneering scheme paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems that has led to a revival of the rainforest.

  • Restor, Switzerland

A ground-breaking online platform connecting and empowering local conservation projects.

Clean our Air:

  • The Blue Map App, China

China’s first public environmental database enabling citizens to hold polluters to account.

  • Takachar, India

A pioneering technology to create profitable products from agricultural waste and put a stop to the burning of crops.

  • Vinisha Umashankar, India

A 14-year-old innovator and activist who has designed a solar-powered ironing cart with the potential to improve air quality across India.

Revive our Oceans:

  • Coral Vita, Bahamas

A truly cutting-edge breakthrough in coral farming that can restore our world’s dying coral reefs.

  • Living Seawalls, Australia

Innovative and replicable seawall panels bringing marine life back to coastal sea defences.

  • Pristine Seas, USA

An unprecedented global conservation programme protecting 6.5 million square km of the world’s ocean.

Build a Waste-Free World:

  • The City of Milan Food Waste Hubs, Italy

A city-wide initiative that has dramatically cut waste while tackling hunger.

  • Sanergy, Kenya

A circular sanitation solution that converts human waste into safe products for local farmers. 

  • WOTA BOX, Japan

A tiny water treatment plant that turns 98% of wastewater into clean water.

Fix our Climate:

  • AEM Electrolyser, Thailand/Germany/Italy

An ingenious green hydrogen technology developed to transform how we power our homes and buildings.

  • Reeddi Capsules, Nigeria

Solar-powered energy capsules making electricity affordable and accessible in energy-poor communities.

  • SOLbazaar, Bangladesh

The world’s first peer-to-peer energy exchange network in a country on the front-line of climate change.

All 15 Finalists will receive tailored support and resources from The Earthshot Prize Global Alliance Members, an unprecedented network of private sector businesses around the world who will help scale their solutions to realise an even greater impact with their ground-breaking work.

Selection process 

The search for our inaugural Finalists began in November 2020, when nominations opened and were submitted by over 200 official Earthshot Prize Nominators from every region of the world. These Nominators were selected for their experience in environmental research, policy, advocacy and grassroots action, as well as their global networks with individuals, teams and organisations who are leading on solutions to these environmental challenges. 

Over 750 nominations – far more than anticipated for The Earthshot Prize’s first year - were screened as part of an independent assessment process run by Deloitte, the Prize’s implementation partner, who ensured that all nominations were assessed fairly and thoroughly, by an experienced sustainability team. Longlisted nominations were then assessed by a global Expert Advisory Panel - a crucial stage in the selection process that adds a further layer of independence and rigour, bringing together expertise from science, conservation, innovation, investment, economics, politics, communications and activism. 

Of these 15 Finalists, the five Winners will be selected by The Earthshot Prize Council, a diverse team of influential individuals which includes: HRH Prince William, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Sir David Attenborough, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Indra Nooyi, Shakira Mebarak, Christiana Figueres, Luisa Neubauer, Cate Blanchett, Yao Ming, Daniel Alves Da Silva, Ernest Gibson, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Jack Ma, and Naoko Yamazaki.

In the run-up to the prize-giving ceremony on 17 October, BBC and Discovery will release a 5-part documentary series THE EARTHSHOT PRIZE: REPAIRING OUR PLANET, led by Prince William, founder of The Earthshot Prize, and featuring Earthshot Prize Council Members including Shakira Mebarak, Daniel Alves and Sir David Attenborough. This landmark series will highlight what we have to do to save our planet, tell the inspiring stories of people around the world already doing just that, and introduce us to the Finalists for this year's Earthshot Prize.

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