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Goal 13: Climate Action

Earthshot Prize: THE WINNERS

Meet the first ever recipients of the five £1m Earthshot Prizes (and hear about the amazing eco-ceremony)

By hannah rochell
18 october 2021

If you're going to hold a ceremony for an environmental prize, better make it as sustainable as possible. And the very first Earthshot Prize ceremony, which was held at London's Alexandra Palace on Sunday evening, did just that. From the plastic-free stage build, to Coldplay and Ed Sheeran's music being powered by 60 cyclists, it was proof that there is a better way of doing things - even star-studded award ceremonies. 


Speaking of stars, none flew in specifically for the awards, but those that did attend made an eco entrance on the green carpet. They included #TOGETHERBAND ambassador Dani Alves, who is a member of the Earthshot Prize Council and on the panel of judges, and BOTTLETOP supporter Emma Watson, who wore a gown made from 10 different dresses from Oxfam (guests were asked to 'consider the environment' when choosing their outfits).

There were five prize winners, each from a different category and each winning £1m to grow their climate solution ideas. The panel of 15 judges included Sir David Attenborough, the singer Shakira, and Christina Figueres, who was instrumental in setting up the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 


The Republic of Costa Rica won the Protect and Restore Nature category. This country once cleared most of its forests, but it has since doubled the number of trees thanks to a scheme paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems, causing a revival of the rainforest. This scheme will now receive further funding, thanks to the prize money.


For the Clean our Air category, the winner was a portable machine that turns agricultural waste into fertiliser so that farmers do not burn their fields and cause air pollution in Takachar, India. Two best friends in the Bahamas won the Revive our Oceans prize. They are growing coral to restore the world's dying reefs using special tanks that grow coral up to 50 times faster than they normally take in nature.


For Build a Waste-Free World, it was the turn of City of Milan Food Waste Hubs in Italy. It collects unused food and gives it to people who need it most. The initiative has dramatically cut waste while tackling hunger. And finally, to Fix our Climate it was an AEM Electrolyser, which uses renewable energy to make hydrogen, a clean gas that is usually produced using fossil fuels.

It was the Duke of Cambridge who launched The Earthshot Prize because of his own concerns about the climate emergency. ‘There’s a lot of negativity around the climate, quite rightly,’ Prince William said in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. ‘We are at a very serious juncture in time. But I felt very much like there are a lot of people wanting to do very good things with the environment and what they need is a bit of a catalyst, a bit of positivity, a bit of hope that we can actually fix what’s being presented.’ 


Prince William has partnered with a global alliance for the prize, including WWFFauna and Flora InternationalGreenpeace and the UN Environment Programme. The initiative will run for 10 years until 2030.

‘The anxiety and the worry that these younger generations are going to have. They don’t want to inherit a world that is going to be full of doom and gloom,’ he continued when asked about his role as the future King of England and his influence. ‘I feel right now that it’s my responsibility. We are at a tipping point and I want to make sure that my children and my grandchildren, that we hand the planet in a better state than we found [it]. There is no more pressing issue than the environment right now.’ 


Watch the accompanying BBC series The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet here. For more information on the prize, head to earthshotprize.org

Goal 13: Climate Action
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Goal 13: Climate Action
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This article was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated