His Royal Highness Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, attended the first Earthshot Prize Innovation Showcase at the DP World Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai – and said this is the decisive decade to change the course of our planet’s future.

HRH Prince William was joined by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee; and His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, with the Duke of Cambridge applauding DP World’s announcement of the GBP 1 million investment to two Earthshot Prize finalists.


The impressive Innovation Showcase profiled pioneering solutions from the 2021 Earthshot Prize finalists and included remarks from Earthshot Prize Council Members – HRH Prince William and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, who participated via video message – challenging the distinguished audience to help scale the Earthshot solutions.

HRH Prince William said: “This is the decisive decade. If we do nothing by 2030, we will be speeding towards an increasingly devastating planetary and humanitarian crisis as a result of our changing climate. If we act now, we will be on a path towards repaired and regenerated planets that will flourish for generations to come.

“The change is not happening fast enough, or at the scale we need. While momentum is growing, and the strides made in COP26 in Glasgow are testament to that, we are still in a race against time. That is why I founded the Earthshot Prize: to showcase, accelerate and scale ground-breaking solutions to repair our planet.”

HRH Prince William referred to the prize as a beacon of hope and a conduit to creating a better world: “Earthshot is a global team effort to spark urgent optimism and game-changing innovation to transform our future. I’m inviting all of you to join the Earthshot team and support our finalists – the eco-innovators – to take their solutions to scale.”

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan said: “The future is these finalists – and so many like them around the world. They remind us that human ingenuity is the ultimate renewable resource.”

During the event, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem announced the landmark investment to scale solutions from two Earthshot Prize finalists: Coral Vita and Living Seawalls. DP World, together with Expo 2020 Dubai, is a Global Alliance Founding Partner of the Earthshot Prize.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said: “Our business is connected to the oceans, and their protection is an important priority across all our operations as part of our sustainable business commitments evidenced by our target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. We are excited to invest in both Coral Vita and Living Seawalls as part of our efforts to develop technologies that address issues facing marine ecosystems.”

Revive our Oceans Earthshot prize winner, the Bahamas-based Coral Vita, will receive GBP 500,000 to develop a strategy for the deployment of large-scale reef restoration in the UAE, which will implement approaches to grow climate resilient corals up to 50 times faster than traditional methods. With these funds, they will begin collaborative work on reef restoration in the region, including scoping for the first commercial land-based coral farm for reef restoration in the Middle East.

Sam Teicher, Co-founder and Chief Reef Officer, Coral Vita, Bahamas, said: “By 2050, we are on track to lose 90 percent of the world’s reefs, largely due to climate change.

“This is clearly an ecological tragedy. Up to one million people are sustained by coral reefs, and they generate USD 2.7 trillion annually through goods and services. The exciting thing about Earthshot is that it’s bringing world leaders and investors together to drive forward and inspire new solutions.”

Revive our Oceans prize finalist, the Australia-based Living Seawalls, was also awarded GBP 500,000. This investment will scale their innovative work creating panels that mimic natural habitats such as rock pools and mangrove roots, which are fitted to coastal sea defences to return marine life to coastal shorelines.

DP World’s commitment will fund the design and installation of the largest living seawall on the planet adapted to support the native marine life of the UAE and wider region.

Dr Mariana Mayer Pinto, Co-Leader, Living Seawalls, said: “Our aim for the next five years is to have a Living Seawall in every continent, to support and connect people to the oceans in the most urbanised areas, which are the areas where most people live, work and play. The key part of climate change is heading home more than ever, and that’s especially in coastal communities.”

In addition to Coral Vita and Living Seawalls, the Innovation Showcase also featured presentations from three other 2021 Earthshot Prize finalists: Eshrat Waris from SOLshare, Bangladesh – the world’s first peer-to-peer energy exchange network in a country on the frontline of climate change; David Auerbach from Sanergy, Kenya – circular sanitation solution reducing waste and supporting local farmers; and Olugbenga Olubanjo from Reeddi, Nigeria – solar-powered energy capsules making electricity affordable and accessible in energy-poor communities.

Eshrat Waris said: “Our vision is a future where community-owned and operated micro-grids and charging stations become virtual power plants. This means every citizen will power the country’s future with green energy and storage. We’re ready to take our model to scale and provide solutions to communities, businesses and governments across the world.”

David Auerbach said: “Last year, we collected about 60,000 tonnes of waste. Now, we are expanding throughout Africa and Asia which will have an incredible environmental, economic and social impact. We’re going to divert four million tonnes of waste, and offset two million tonnes of carbon per year, creating 100,000 jobs in emerging markets in the process.”

Now in its second year, the Earthshot Prize was launched by HRH Prince William and The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It has expanded its network of nominators, with more than 300 organisations from more than 80 countries, representing not-for-profit, foundation, investment, corporate, academic, governmental and community-led organisations to spearhead eco-solutions to bring Earth back from the brink.

By: Delroy Constantine-Simms and Sonia Dixon