On Sunday 17th October 2021, in a star-studded ceremony held in London, the first ever winners of the Earthshot Prize were announced. Described as the most prestigious global environmental prize in history, the Earthshot Prize, launched by Prince William and David Attenborough last year, has been designed to incentivise change and to catalyse a decade of action to repair the Earth. Each year for the next ten years, five £1 million prizes will be awarded to some of the most innovative solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems. This year, the applicants ranged from an individual 14 year old girl in India, who has invented a solar powered ironing cart, to entire cities and countries who are pioneering schemes to improve life for their citizens, demonstrating that this is a prize that really is open to all.
Inspired by President John F Kenedy’s “Moonshot”, which set a goal to put man on the moon within ten years, the Earthshot prize is based around five “Earthshots” – ambitious goals for the planet which if achieved, will improve life for all. These goals aim to generate new ways of thinking, both in terms of scientific innovation as well as new, innovative policies and solutions. We send our congratulations to all of the winners of the Earthshot Prize, which were as follows:
Protect and Restore Nature – awarded to the Republic of Costa Rica for the scheme implemented by their Ministry for Environment to pay citizens to protect forests, plant frees and restore ecosystems.
Clean Our Air – awarded to Takachar, India, who have developed a portable machine for converting crop residues into sellable bioproducts, such as fuel and fertiliser. This prevents the burning of the crop residues by farmers, thereby reducing smoke emissions.
Revive Our Oceans – awarded to Coral Vita, Bahamas, who have found innovative ways of growing climate resistant corals, up to 50 times faster than conventional methods. These corals are being replanted in order to restore coral reefs around the world.
Build A Waste Free World – awarded to The City of Milan for their city-wide food waste policy and their Food Waste Hubs which recover food from supermarkets and company canteens and redistribute it to the city’s neediest citizens.
Fix Our Climate – awarded to AEM Electrolyser, Thailand/Germany/Italy, who have developed affordable electrolyser technology for turning renewable electricity into emission-free hydrogen gas, which can be used to fuel cars and planes, as well as heating homes.
There is no escaping the stark message from the Earthshot founders, which is that our Earth is at a tipping point and that we need to tackle these global environmental problems within the next decade in order to pull things back from the brink. Despite this, the Earthshot Prize feels deeply optimistic and shows an inspiring faith in humankind to use their ingenuity to bring about positive global change. It is exciting to watch as new technologies and ideas emerge to bring innovative solutions to environmental problems that, at times, can seem unsolvable.
At Reddie & Grose, we are proud to have supported the Earthshot Prize through our involvement in a committee put together by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) to support both the Earthshot committee and the finalists themselves. As part of this committee, we helped to review IP matters for the Earthshot prize nominees so that potential issues could be identified. Subsequently, the committee were able to provide all finalists with access to pro bono IP advice, if needed, so that they could be well informed about the availability of IP protection relating to their entries.
As our involvement with the Earthshot Prize shows, we are strong supporters of sustainable innovations and we strongly urge innovators to use IP to protect their innovations so that they can be utilised effectively and to ensure that the motivation to continue innovating remains. If you would like any advice relating to IP protection for your inventions, please get in touch with one of our patent team.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.