The Prince of Wales has said that he hopes the Earthshot Prize will lead to the next generation not having to deal with climate change anxiety by 2030.
Speaking at the first ever Earthshot+ event, held the day after the third annual awards ceremony for his environmental prize, he laid out his vision for it over the next seven years.
He said: “We’ll be able to look the next generation in the eye in 2030 and say: ‘We started to turn the dial,’ and climate anxiety will no longer be something that the next generation fear.”
William made the comments about his mission for the prize’s impact during a conversation at the Park Royal Pickering hotel in Singapore.
During the 15-minute discussion, he continued laying out his hopes for the future, saying: “We’ll start to see visible improvement in our coastlines in our oceans. We’ll start to see transportation changing.
“We’ll start to see policy shifts, we’ll start to see governments being incredibly engaged and a green sector starting to appear.”
William added: “I think also we’ll have many more champions and role models to follow and people who can lead us in this transition and it not be so daunting, time consuming or difficult. Everything will become easier. That’s my version of 2030 … that’s our mission.”
The Earthshot+ conference followed the star-studded awards ceremony, held on Tuesday evening, as a day of thought-provoking conversations aimed at multiplying the impact of the prize.
The event included sessions with some of the 2023 prize finalists, international leaders and experts in climate change and the business sector.
William joined the day-long event following a morning hike at the TreeTop Walk in the MacRitchie Reservoir Park, famous for its monkeys.
He was accompanied on the 40-minute jungle walk – in almost 30C heat with 80% humidity – by the deputy prime minister and finance minister, Lawrence Wong, who is set to be the next prime minister of Singapore.
After sitting in on two Earthshot+ panels during Wednesday morning’s plenary session, the prince then took part in his own fireside conversation.
On stage, he was joined by Christiana Figueres, an internationally recognised global leader on climate change and former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change whose tenure culminated in the historic Paris Agreement of 2015.
They were also in conversation with Brandon Ng, the co-founder and CEO of Ampd Energy, a 2022 Earthshot Prize finalist.
The trio discussed the importance of the Earthshot Decade, of which the prize is now a quarter of the way through.
William told the audience: “I’m really proud of where we are now after three years – to take a seed of an idea to being a global climate and environmental prize in three years is a big deal.
“It hasn’t been easy and it’s ambitious and there’s a more daunting side that comes with it, but equally, we’re on a journey.
“We have got this period of a decade of change in these next 10 years to really make an impact, make progress, and remind people what’s going on around them.”
He added that he sees himself as the “glue” that brings people together to make the largest impact possible.
Pressed by Ms Figueres on what exact instructions for improvement he is referring to, William said: “I think over the next few years, we’re going to go from being a prize to becoming a platform … to becoming a movement.”
He said that this awards ceremony in Singapore, the third one for the Earthshot Prize, has showed him that the team “can start to look more ahead”.
“Ultimately, we want to see better solutions, we want to see better impact, we want to see more of it and we want to see it faster,” he added.
His comments came alongside the announcement of a new Earthshot Launchpad, its new pilot platform that will connect funders to current and former finalists and nominees and support their funding needs and growth journey.
When William founded the environmental award in 2020, he did so with the 10-year mission to find ways to protect and repair the environment with innovative solutions.
It awards five £1 million prizes annually across the Earthshot themes of clean air, oceans, waste-reduction, climate change and restoring nature.
Over the last year, the Earthshot Prize cohort has benefited 1.5 million people globally, restored 2.1 million hectares of the ocean and sequestered 35,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
After announcing the new Launchpad innovation, Hannah Jones, chief executive of the prize, said: “The Launchpad is the next step in taking the momentum we’ve started here (in Singapore) and bringing it to life this year and beyond.”