Duke of Cambridge sets date for inaugural Earthshot environmental prize awards

The Duke of Cambridge announced today that the inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards will be held at Alexandra Palace in London in October.

The first ceremony in Prince William’s decade-long £50m global environmental competition will be broadcast on BBC One. Organisers said the event, which will also be televised internationally, will feature “some of the world’s leading performers, all committed to repairing our planet”.

William, who hopes Earthshot could become the Nobel prize of the environmental world, announced the October 17 ceremony with a trailer filmed by a drone camera. The duke was seen standing alone in front of the ornate Alexandra Palace Rose Window as the drone zoomed away from him before panning round to capture the London skyline.

The same footage was also shown on London’s Piccadilly lights landmark billboard in Piccadilly Circus at 8am this morning.

The duke said: “Join me for the first ever Earthshot Prize Awards, where we’ll unveil five global prizewinners and their game-changing solutions to repair our planet, on October 17, here in London.”

The environmental prize takes its inspiration from late US president John F Kennedy’s ambitious 'Moonshot' lunar space programme of the 1960s, which helped advance mankind’s technological achievements.

Earthshot features five categories, which organisers say if achieved by 2030 would improve life for all. Every year from 2021 until the end of the decade, winners of the five Earthshots will each receive £1m to be used for their solutions.

To mark the venue announcement, William said: “By hosting the COP26 conference in Glasgow just weeks after our inaugural awards, the UK is helping lead the world in tackling climate change. London is a fantastic location to showcase this leadership, spotlight the finalists and award our very first Earthshot Prize winners.”

The duke met London mayor Sadiq Khan, who welcomed the ceremony as a “momentous occasion” for the city, at Kensington Palace last week. Sir David Attenborough, who has supported the project from the beginning, is a member of the Earthshot Prize council, which will choose the winners. Fellow judges include actress Cate Blanchett, singer Shakira and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Meanwhile, William's father, Charles, the Prince of Wales, urged the world's insurers to rise to the climate change challenge and “innovate new products” in a speech he gave yesterday at Lloyd’s of London.

Charles said a “seismic shift of investment” was needed if nations were to realise the aspiration of creating a “low carbon world” by the middle of the century. He was speaking to an audience of insurers at Lloyd’s as he launched his 'Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Insurance Task Force' to help lead the industry towards greener goals.

Charles told the group of underwriters and brokers gathered in Lloyd’s iconic underwriting room: “My sincere hope is that the industry will rise to these challenges and regard them as opportunities and that it will avoid the temptation to restrict coverage but, rather, innovate new products.

“If we are to realise the aspirations of moving to a low-carbon world by the middle of this century, there will have to be a seismic shift of investment into new industries and sectors. This transition in favour of nature, people and planet can also represent the biggest opportunity for the insurance industry in recent times.”

He went on to say: “If there is one insurance policy we need, it’s the one that guarantees the survival of the natural systems that sustain all life on Earth – and us.”

Earlier, the Prince of Wales had joined a meeting of the Insurance Task Force which featured the chief executives from a range of leading insurance and financial services companies, including Allianz, AXA, Direct Line Group, Legal & General and Lloyd’s.

The new body has a number of initiatives to drive climate positive action including the introduction of “build back better” claims clauses in home insurance policies to encourage customers to rebuild damaged properties with more sustainable materials.

The Task Force is also planning to launch at least two new insurance products to protect priority industries - such as nuclear energy, hydrogen and offshore wind - against a potentially risky landscape to help accelerate their growth.

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chairman of Lloyd’s, also gave a speech and spoke about his industry’s commitment to helping clients move towards a more sustainable future: “The critical journey to a successful transition to a low-carbon economy will require global collaboration on a vast scale.

“Alongside the commitments that many nations around the world are making to take action to decarbonise, Lloyd’s and the global insurance industry have an important role to play in supporting that transition.

“Given our expertise in risk mitigation and management, disaster resilience and recovery – and we’ve more than $6tn in assets under management – the global insurance industry is in a unique position to provide innovative products and services to finance, manage and protect against the rapidly changing risk landscape that our customers face as they transition to a more sustainable future.”

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