SINGAPORE (AP) — Celebrities joined Britain’s Prince William to walk the “green carpet” in Singapore on Tuesday for the third Earthshot Prize awards ceremony, where five winners ranging from solar-powered dryers to combat food waste to making electric car batteries cleaner were unveiled.
The Prince of Wales said at the first ceremony held in Asia that the solutions presented by all 15 finalists proved that “hope does remain” as the devastating effects of climate change are felt across the world.
Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, actors Donnie Yen, Lana Condor and Nomzano Mbatha, as well as Australian wildlife conservationist Robert Irwin presented the award to winners in five categories: nature protection, clean air, ocean revival, waste elimination and climate change.
The winners, who each won 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) to scale up their innovations, are:
— Acción Andina, for a community-based initiative in South American bringing tens of thousands of local and indigenous people together to restore high forests in the Andes mountain;
— India’s S4S Technologies, for solar-powered dryers and processing equipment that helped millions of farmers to preserve their crops and combat food waste;
— Boomitra, for removing emissions and helping boost farmer profits in Asia, South America and Africa by incentivising land restoration through a verified carbon-credit marketplace;
— Hong Kong company GRST, for developing a way to make batteries for electric vehicles pollute less and are easier to recycle;
— Global non-profit organization WildAid Marine Program, for working with governments to bolster enforcement to deter illegal fishing and strengthen ocean conservation.
“Our winners and all our finalists remind us that, no matter where you are on our planet, the spirit of ingenuity, and the ability to inspire change, surrounds us all,” William said.
The winners were chosen by a 13-member council that includes Jordan’s Queen Rania, Chinese business magnate Jack Ma, British fashion designer Stella McCartney, broadcaster David Attenborough, World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweale and former NBA star Yao Ming.
Apart from the prize money, all 15 finalists — chosen from more than 1,100 nominations — will receive a year of technical support and resources to help them accelerate and expand their work.
The other finalists included a U.S. company that found a way to recycle polycotton fabrics, which makes up half of all textile waste; a program to plant, grow and digitally track trees in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, where 70% of trees have been cut down; an anti-smog movement in Poland, which has the dirtiest air in Europe; and a U.K. company making low-emission tires for electric vehicles.
The Earthshot Prize was launched in 2020 by William’s Royal Foundation charity as a 10-year program to shore up innovative solutions and technologies against the planet’s greatest environmental perils.
In line with the sustainability theme, William wore a 10-year-old dark green blazer by Alexander McQueen. Other celebrities including Donnie Yen donned an old suit, while South African actress Mbatha wore a bright navy blue gown by Stella McCartney, known for her eco-friendly clothing,
The glitzy ceremony at the theater in state-owned Media Corp. was co-hosted by actors Hannah Waddingham and Sterling K. Brown. The bands One Republic and Bastille, and U.S. singer Bebe Rexha performed for the night.
Singapore ministers and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden also attended. Ardern, a trustee of the Earthshot board, said before the ceremony that Earthshot had helped amplified the solutions needed to fight climate change.
“We need speed and pace and Earthshot focuses on providing both,” she said.
The ceremony came ahead of the COP28 U.N. climate change summit in Dubai, which starts Nov. 30 and will include a speech by his father, King Charles III.