Earthshot Prize: Royals to spend £50m on climate and nature innovations by 2030

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have officially launched what they describe as the "most prestigious global environment prize in history", which will allocate £50m to projects tackling the climate and nature crises over a ten-year period.

Sir David Attenborough (pictured left) is helping to promote the prize

Sir David Attenborough (pictured left) is helping to promote the prize


 Called the Earthshot Prize, the initiative was first introduced at the start of 2020. Prince William and Kate Middleton have now outlined the specifics of the prize.

Each year through to 2030, the prize will award £1m each to five innovators – each working on a different major global environmental issue described as an ‘Earthshot’. The five Earthshots are conserving and restoring nature; tackling air pollution; reviving oceans; building a waste-free world and addressing climate change.

For projects to receive funding, they must prove that they operate in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will ensure that they deliver positive outcomes across the environmental and social agenda, without unintended negative consequences.

Projects do not necessarily need to involve the creation of new technologies. Innovative processes and systems, as well as policy proposals, will be considered by the panel of judges, known as the ‘Earthshot Prize Council’. Sitting on the council are representatives from the likes of WWF, WRAP, Flora & Fauna International and the UN’s Environment Programme and Global Compact.

Prince William said the prize aims to “galvanise and bring together the best minds and the best possible solutions” to the world’s most pressing environmental issues.

“We’ve got to harness our ingenuity and our ability to invent,” he added. “The next ten years are a critical decade for change.”

A right royal announcement

There had been concerns that the launch of the Earthshot Prize would be delayed, given that the original plan was to build awareness of and interest in COP26. The conference has been pushed back from November 2020 to November 2021 considering the pandemic.

But organisers have kept to the original schedule, which has seen the official launch take place in the same week that a new climate-focused documentary starring Prince William premiered on the BBC.

Called ‘Prince William: A Planet for us All’, the hour-long programme sees the Duke and Duchess travelling around the UK, as well as to Tanzania and Pakistan, to observe first-hand the impacts of extreme weather and pollution.

It sees William discussing how fatherhood has “changed his outlook” on environmentalism and how he is inspired to follow Prince Charles by taking a more public-facing stance.

Sarah George


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