The third iteration of global environmental innovation competition The Earthshot Prize culminated on Tuesday evening with the United Kingdom’s Prince William lauding the 2023 slate of winners for the “light of optimism” their solutions provide amid a year when the climate crisis became “too visible to be ignored.”
From a crop of 15 finalists, The Earthshot Prize named ideas to tackle illegal fishing, protect forests and restore the soil among this year’s slate of winners, with each receiving a £1 million (US$1.2 million) grant to scale their solutions.
Among the awardees from Asia was India’s Science For Society (S4S) Technologies, which provides solar-powered conduction dryers and food processing equipment to female smallholder farmers to save surplus produce from rotting in the fields.
The other Asian winner was Hong Kong’s Green, Renewable, Sustainable Technology (GRST), which has developed batteries built with water-soluble binding composite instead of toxic solvents and other hard-to-recycle materials, enabling the easy recovery of transition metals lithium, cobalt and nickel at the end of the cell’s life.
We are a prize, we scour the planet for innovative solutions. But more than that our goal is to be a platform for impact, helping to speed solutions to scale and [build] a movement for urgent optimism that leads to action.
Hannah Jones, CEO, The Earthshot Prize
Justin Hung, cofounder of GRST, said that funding from The Earthshot Prize will go towards driving the global electric vehicle “revolution.”
“The world needs a massive amount of batteries to achieve net zero by 2050,” said Hung. “The electric vehicle revolution is here, but the world needs a sustainable battery revolution to accompany it. Our technology is better for the environment, better for people, and more efficient than conventional battery technology. Thank you to The Earthshot Prize for spotlighting our important work.”
The other three winners were the indigenous reforestation programme Acción Andina from South America, farmer-led soil restoration and regenerative agriculture initiative Boomitra and marine conservation nonprofit WildAid for fighting against illegal fishing in protected sanctuaries in Palau and Zanzibar.
This year, The Earthshot Prize partnered with Temasek Trust, Temasek, GenZero and Conservation International to hold the week-long series of events for the first time in Singapore.
“Asia has many ground-breaking, high-impact innovations which need to be showcased and scaled globally to accelerate positive change,” said Temasek Trust chief executive Desmond Kuek on why it was important for the region to host the awards. “Our multi-year collaboration with The Earthshot Prize is rooted in a shared bias for action and ambition in catalysing innovative solutions at scale to repair our planet.”
Founded by Prince William in 2020, The Earthshot Prize is an environmental prize which aims to discover, accelerate, and scale innovative solutions to global environmental challenges. The prize has five main goals and categories: protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world and fix our climate.
“We are a prize, we scour the planet for innovative solutions. But more than that our goal is to be a platform for impact, helping to speed solutions to scale and [build] a movement for urgent optimism that leads to action,” said Hannah Jones, CEO of The Earthshot Prize, during a fireside chat with Eco-Business founder Jessica Cheam at Cities: Possibilities 2023 on Thursday.