What is the Earthshot Prize 2021 and who funds it?

The inaugural Earthshot Prize 2021 has some fans wondering who funds the award

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 17: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Earthshot Prize 2021 at Alexandra Palace on October 17, 2021 in London, England. The Earthshot Prize, created by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation, is an environmental prize awarded to the most inspiring and innovative solutions to environmental challenges facing the planet. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William's Earthshot Prize ceremony on Sunday evening has earned the royal heir a flurry of media attention—but just what is this high-profile award and who pays for it? 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made headlines this morning after the success of their glitzy Earthshot Prize ceremony, which saw A-listers from across Britain gather together to recognize the winners and finalists of Prince William's new environmental competition. 

The eco-conscious event, which took place at the luxurious Alexandra Palace in London, encouraged its guests to wear old outfits and avoid traveling to the venue by plane. Kate Middleton stunned with a new red hair color and recycled lilac dress, much to the delight of her fashion-savvy fans, while Prince William’s new look in bold green velvet was the perfect nod to the evening's nature-centric theme. 

Several celebrity singers performed at the awards, including Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and KSI. The event also welcomed a fleet of screen talent, with Emma Watson, David Oyelowo, and Dame Emma Thompson all in attendance. 

The five lucky winners of the Earthshot prizes were chosen by judges David Attenborough, Shakira, and Cate Blancett. 

Prince William at Earthshot Prize Awards 2021

(Image credit: Getty)

What is the Earthshot Prize? 

Launched by Prince William and David Attenborough last October, the Earthshot Prize holds the prestigious title of the world’s biggest annual environmental award. Five one million pound prizes are presented to those who submit the best solutions for combating the climate emergency, an issue that is particularly close to the Duke of Cambridge’s heart. Entrants are allowed to propose ideas under the following categories: the restoration and protection of nature; air cleanliness; ocean revival; waste-free living; and climate action. 

The green competition will run for ten years, with the hope of accumulating 50 different strategies by 2030 to reverse the impending environmental crisis. 

Kate Middleton talks to David Attenborough at Earthshot Prize 2021

(Image credit: Getty)

As for its name, it was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot, a 1961 space program that called on the American people to work together to put a human on the moon. Fast forward to the 21st century and Prince William is now appealing to the world’s population to turn their attention on keeping humans on Earth, by developing practical ideas that “incentivize change and help to repair our planet.” 

“The Earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet, or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve,” said Prince William. 

Kate Middleton presents Earthshot Prize 2021

(Image credit: Getty)

Who were the Earthshot Prize winners for 2021?

The winners of the Earthshot Prize 2021 included a wide range of recipients, with both countries and companies bagging accolades for their impressive solutions to the climate crisis. 

The Republic of Costa Rica received the award for their efforts to “Protect and Restore Nature”, after wowing the judges with their policy of compensating landowners for reforestation. The President of the Latin American country, Carlos Alvarado, accepted the prize with “humility” and encouraged other nations to follow suit. 

The “Clean Our Air” prize went to Takachar, an Indian company that has developed groundbreaking technology to convert crop waste into sellable products like fertilizer, rather than burning it and polluting the air. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: David Oyelowo (left) announces Takachar, from India, as the winner of the Clean Our Air award on stage during the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace on October 17, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

David Oyelowo (left) announces Takachar, from India, as the winner of the Clean Our Air award.

(Image credit: Getty)

The “Food Waste Hubs” award was given to the Italian city of Milan, which made history after becoming the first big city to implement a large-scale policy to target both food waste and hunger. The project recovers approximately 130 tonnes of surplus food a year from supermarkets and restaurants and distributes it to citizens in need. 

The Ocean Revival prize went to Coral Vita, a farm based in Grand Bahama which grows coral on land rather than in the sea. The practice of land growing speeds up the process, helping to restore the ocean’s declining coral quickly and efficiently.

The “Fix Our Climate” award went to Enapter, a Thai-German-Italian company that developed an electrolyzer that uses renewable energy to produce clean hydrogen.

Who funds the Earthshot Prize? 

The Earthshot Prize is funded by Prince William and Kate Middleton’s official charity, the Royal Foundation. Founded in 2011 to facilitate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's philanthropic endeavors, the organization is financially supported by a number of generous donors. 

Where will the Earthshot Prize be hosted next year?

The Earthshot Prize ceremony will take place in the US next year, which means Prince William and Kate Middleton could be voyaging over to Harry and Meghan's home turf sooner rather than later. 

"Now, I hope you agree, that London and the UK has put on quite a show for our first year," Prince William said during the ceremony at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday. 

"So for the second year, we need to pass the baton to a country whose leadership is essential for all five of our Earthshots. Where better than the nation that inspired the Moonshot all those years ago? I'm delighted to announce that The Earthshot Prize will be heading to the United States of America in 2022." 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.