The third annual awards ceremony of The Earthshot Prize (TEP), an ambitious global environmental prize and platform founded by Prince William to repair our planet, was held in Singapore on 7 November 2023. This marked the first time that the star-studded awards show was accompanied by a week-long celebration of innovation and impact.
Dubbed Earthshot Week, the series of events connected global leaders, businesses, and investors with the Prize’s winners and finalists to explore opportunities to accelerate their innovative solutions and take tangible action to restore our planet.
The public got up close and personal with sustainability leaders and changemakers in Asia and learnt about the TEP finalists’ groundbreaking work. Youth climate enthusiasts from across the region picked up leadership skills, connected with mentors and like-minded peers, and learnt how to craft compelling climate narratives.
Temasek Trust and our ecosystem entities — the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices (CIIP), Temasek Foundation, Temasek Shophouse, and Tri-Sector Associates (TSA) — supported the Earthshot Week line-up of events to inspire and drive climate action.
Read on for more highlights of Earthshot Week 2023 in Singapore:
1. Community outreach and youth events
In the lead-up to Earthshot Week, social impact hub Temasek Shophouse hosted community engagement events, where the public heard from sustainability changemakers and leaders about their innovative climate solutions and platforms.
The youth programming brought together over 120 exceptional leaders aged 18 to 35 across Asia for a transformative experience to support them in driving climate action in their communities.
At the Asian Young Leaders for Climate and the Environment (AYLCE) programme, organised by Common Purpose with the support of Temasek Foundation, 51 climate enthusiasts embarked on masterclasses, workshops, and industry immersion visits.
Conservation International Singapore’s Studio Zero content workshop, hosted at Temasek Shophouse, guided the next generation in using creative storytelling in their efforts to champion the environment.
For more on the youth and community programming, click here.
2. Global Alliance Forum
The Prize is supported by its Global Alliance, a network of organisations and individuals worldwide who share the ambition to drive the urgent change needed to repair the Earth. Global Alliance Founding Partners include Temasek Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
At the Global Alliance Forum, Mr. Desmond Kuek, CEO, Temasek Trust, said: “We need all hands on deck, forming alliances and joining up to collaborate… It is the only way forward to a better, brighter collective future.”
The Global Alliance Forum featured key announcements and opportunities for the Prize’s finalists and partners to connect and explore collaboration opportunities to scale climate solutions.
In his opening remarks at the Forum, Mr. Desmond Kuek, CEO, Temasek Trust, noted that the challenges in protecting our planet are complex and immense. But he added that “there are also tremendous opportunities that we can unlock with catalytic capital, scientific and technological exploration, and the sheer inspiration of our collective will and collaborative action”, and that “The Earthshot Prize powerfully exemplifies this”.
3. Masterclasses by the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices and Tri-Sector Associates
As part of the Fellowship Retreat for TEP finalists, CIIP and TSA conducted masterclasses on impact investing and catalytic capital, respectively.
Ms. Hiu Chii Fen from CIIP said it is crucial for impact innovators to track both positive and negative impacts of their operations.
CIIP’s session explored the concept of impact — be it positive, negative, intended, or unintended — and the spectrum of capital available, from responsible investing and sustainable investing to venture philanthropy and philanthropic donations.
Ms. Hiu Chii Fen, Associate Director, CIIP, highlighted the three key characteristics of impact investing: intentionality, accountability, and measurability.
Taking an evidence-based, data-backed approach will go a long way in avoiding “impact washing”, ensuring credibility and building trust with investors and stakeholders, while safeguarding an organisation’s impact mission.
“What you don’t measure won’t get managed — the key is to start now, capture quick wins, and build from there, rather than strive for perfection,” Ms. Hiu said.
Mr. Kevin Tan and Mr. Chris Glotfelter from Tri-Sector Associates noted that catalytic capital has different considerations as compared to commercial capital, and therefore requires a different framing for funders.
At Tri-Sector Associates’ workshop, the Earthshot Prize finalists learnt how they can raise catalytic capital across different types of funders, tips to bolster success rates, as well as how to pitch to investors and donors.
Tri-Sector Associates’ Founder and CEO, Mr. Kevin Tan, and Senior Project Leader, Mr. Chris Glotfelter, noted that catalytic capital is patient, risk-tolerant, concessionary, and flexible in that it can be used alone or to enable market-rate investors to co-invest.
“Catalytic, concessionary capital is key to scaling the next generation of impact organisations. Through the creative use of such tools, philanthropists and governments can stretch the impact of their dollar and work with the private sector to address the problems of our time,” Mr. Tan said.
4. Earthshot+ thought leadership forum
At the Earthshot+ panel, Ms. Dawn Chan (second from right) from CIIP and Temasek Trust Capital urged early-stage start-ups to measure their impact metrics, which will help investors decide whether to provide capital.
At the inaugural Earthshot+ event, global leaders, business executives, climate experts, philanthropists, impact investors, and sustainability leaders gathered for a day of thought-provoking conversations on how their collective impact can be amplified.
Ms. Dawn Chan, CEO of CIIP and Managing Director of Investments at Temasek Trust Capital, spoke on a panel discussion about democratising access to finance. She encouraged impact entrepreneurs to have a clear path to profitability, ensure their businesses are scalable, and to be intentional about measuring and calculating their impact metrics, as these can help them to attract financing.
Ms. Chan pointed out that many promising impact-focused start-ups in Asia struggle to get funding. In such cases, philanthropic catalytic capital can play a role in financing them. She updated that Temasek Trust and DBS Foundation are working with other industry partners to create the Co-Axis platform, a digital marketplace for catalytic capital that will build communities and crowd in more capital to support and scale impact innovators.
5. Light Up in Green
During Earthshot Week, Temasek Shophouse and other iconic Singapore landmarks such as the Esplanade, Gardens by the Bay, The Helix, and Singapore Flyer lit up in green, in celebration of the incredible environmental innovation emerging from the region.
6. Earthshot Prize awards ceremony
Acción Andina, GRST, WildAid Marine Program, S4S Technologies, and Boomitra were named the 2023 winners of the Prize during the star-studded awards show. They each received a catalytic £1 million prize to support the scaling of their innovative climate and environmental solutions.
The awards ceremony named five winners across five categories or ‘Earthshots’: Protect and Restore Nature, Clean Our Air, Revive Our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free World, and Fix Our Climate.
The ceremony also spotlighted the inspiring stories of this year’s 15 finalists who had been selected from over 1,100 global nominees. They will all receive mentorship, resources, and technical support from the year-long Earthshot Prize Fellowship Programme.
Prince William, Founder and President of The Earthshot Prize, said: “The light of optimism is burning bright in our Earthshot finalists… our winners and all our finalists remind us that, no matter where you are on our planet, the spirit of ingenuity, and the ability to inspire change, surrounds us all.”
At the post-awards reception, Mr. Desmond Kuek, CEO, Temasek Trust, congratulated the winners and finalists, and urged them to make full use of the Prize’s platform and extended ecosystem.
He added that having seen the transformative solutions, Temasek Trust is even more determined to solve the funding and scaling challenges faced by many impact innovators and entrepreneurs, to give them a fighting chance. This is also why Temasek Trust expanded its partnership with The Earthshot Prize and is now a Founding Partner to spotlight Asia in the fight against climate change.
Mr. Desmond Kuek, CEO, Temasek Trust, delivering his closing remarks at the post-show reception
More than an Award, the Prize works in partnership with its Global Alliance to support the scaling of the solutions discovered and selected each year.