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Supporting The Earthshot Prize Selection Process

"We must collaborate in new ways, and we must be courageous.”
-          Prince William

Environmental goals have been set. Pledges signed. Net zero commitments made. What the planet needs now is radical optimism, innovation and coming together to take urgent action.

That’s what The Earthshot Prize is about.

We sat down with Tom Carr, a Deloitte sustainability strategist, who specialises in competitive innovation to find out more about The Earthshot Prize and how it’s run. For the second year running, he’s been supporting the selection process.

Tom with Elizabeth Faber (Chief People & Purpose Officer, Deloitte APAC), Douglas Marshall (Managing Director of Corporate Citizenship at Deloitte) and Emma Howe (Sustainability & Climate Change Senior Consultant).

What is The Earthshot Prize?

The Earthshot Prize is an annual environmental award founded by William, Prince of Wales, and supported by Sir David Attenborough and other prominent environmentalists. The Prize aims to find the most exciting ideas and connect innovators, non-government organisations (NGOs), global leaders and businesses to scale ingenious solutions with a potential to repair and regenerate our planet by 2030.

Read more about our story with The Earthshot Prize.

A global initiative

Tom gives an idea of the scale of what’s involved; “Being official implementation partner for The Earthshot Prize is exciting, yet at the same time daunting, as it’s such a mammoth global task.”

He’s not wrong when you consider that this year there were 1,000 nominations, put forward by a diverse group of 204 nominators from over 50 countries.

Tom and his colleagues work closely with the Prize team and have helped manage this complex task over the last two years. This includes designing and implementing a rigorous, independent screening process to select solutions with the maximum opportunity for impact in five Earthshot categories.

“We drew upon Deloitte’s global network to find the right expertise to evaluate each solution and provide everything the Prize Council needed to select the winners and finalists. No two solutions were the same, but each nominee we spoke to shared the same determined optimism.”

Nominations were rigorously assessed and distilled to find inspiring, impactful and innovative solutions; as well as to identify what Earthshot describes as “magical disruptive wildcard solutions”. “I was encouraged to see such innovative nominees from such diverse backgrounds all coming to address these critical challenges from very different yet complementary perspectives. It’s a fantastic illustration of how bringing together a wide array of ideas, skillsets and experiences can truly create unique and exciting solutions.”

Tom with 2021 Earthshot Prize Winners, Vaitea Cowen (Enapter) and Sam Teicher (Coral Vita).

Stunning solutions

Tom was impressed by the energy, ingenuity and passion of the nominees.

“From the conservationists who engage local communities and industries for wildlife protection to the creators of innovative tech to prevent micro plastic pollution – it was incredible to see how innovators are responding to these really urgent problems with creative, scalable solutions.”

And there were common themes amongst all the entries. “A particularly prevalent theme amongst nominees were solutions which sought to make our lives more sustainable and decarbonise everyday activities– from finding cleaner ways to cook, to creating alternatives to the plastics we rely on every single day.”

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

The Earthshot Prize Council had to balance so many aspects across the diverse pool of entries. This is where Tom and his team added real value.

“We work with the Prize all the way through the process to make sure that we’re answering the questions and providing the information needed for the Prize Council to make really challenging decisions.”

Working together for the planet

One thing that became apparent to Tom was the importance of how our skills, capabilities and connections through our network can support and scale game-changing innovation.

“The issues the planet faces are all interlinked. It was brilliant to be able to connect entries working on similar problems across the globe. The five Earthshots are all planetary level challenges that require coordinated global action. Collaboration is essential to addressing the challenges we face and The Earthshot Prize cuts across silos.”

What lies ahead?

Looking back at Earthshot Year One’s solutions, Tom finds many reasons to be optimistic for the 2022 Winners and Finalists.

“It’s incredible to see the backing 2021 finalists had from the Global Alliance partners: The support they’ve received to grow their leadership and business, including from Deloitte, along with global change makers such as Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, has allowed them to really accelerate their growth and impact.

“Our work with the Prize has really proved to me that innovative technologies and smart ideas are already out there and constantly being developed the world over. It fills me with such confidence that every year, we’re going to see ever more phenomenal sets of solutions across all five Earthshots.”

By supporting The Earthshot Prize in shortlisting ideas from thousands of inspiring people and organizations, Tom and his team feel galvanized with determination, positivity and hope for the future of our planet.

We’ll leave the first and last words with Prince William though...

“This must be a team effort. We must come together behind their innovative solutions to ensure they reach their full potential with pace and scale. We must collaborate in new ways, and we must be courageous.”

William, Prince of Wales at The Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit 2022