Incubated within The Royal Foundation of the Prince and Princess of Wales and launched by Prince William in 2020, The Earthshot Prize searches for extraordinary solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges.
In July 2022, The Earthshot Prize was formally established as an independent charity to continue to deliver global change.
Each year over the course of this critical decade, five Winners with the best chance of helping to achieve our Earthshots will receive £1M each while all fifteen Finalists will benefit from tailored support to help scale their ground-breaking solutions.
Learn more about how The Earthshot Prize finds, awards and accelerates these innovative solutions.
Led by Prince William as Founder and President, The Earthshot Prize Board of Trustees is a diverse group of individuals from around the world who bring a wealth of knowledge and passion to help drive our impact.
Founder and President
Prince William has long been an advocate for protecting our environment. He has led international efforts to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade through United for Wildlife, helped deliver an ivory ban in the UK and continues to support many global initiatives that focus on conservation.
He believes that the next ten years are critical in our fight to protect the planet. That’s why, in 2020, he launched The Earthshot Prize after two years of work with The Royal Foundation, to develop a landmark project supporting the global effort to protect and restore the environment.
Christiana Figueres was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2010 – 2016. During her tenure, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, women’s groups, scientists and spiritual communities, financial institutions and NGOs to jointly deliver the historic 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change to limit future global warming to well below 2°C and strive for 1.5°C.
Since then, Ms. Figueres has continued to foster rapid action on climate change. She is the co-author of ‘The Future We Choose, The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis’ and co-host of the popular podcast ‘Outrage and Optimism’. She also sits on the Boards of ACCIONA and ACCIONA Energía.
A graduate of Swarthmore College and the London School of Economics, she has been awarded multiple awards from the international press and civil society, and been granted numerous honorary doctorate degrees from academic institutions including Yale, University of Massachusetts, Georgetown and University of Edinburgh.
David Fein has senior-level government, in-house, private practice, and not-for-profit experience, and a track record of forming and supporting public-private partnerships. He served as Group General Counsel at Standard Chartered Bank from 2013 to 2021. Upon his retirement, David was appointed Special Advisor to the Group CEO, and Special Counsel at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
David is Chair of the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce working to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and is a member of the Board of American Friends of The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales, and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
David was US Attorney for the District of Connecticut under President Obama, served as Associate White House Counsel under President Clinton, taught federal criminal prosecutions as a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School and was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern was the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 2017 to 2023 and a passionate advocate for climate action.
Under her leadership, New Zealand introduced a Zero Carbon Act, established an independent Climate Commission and the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions. Rt Hon Ardern chaired her government’s cross-agency board on climate change, producing the nation’s first Emissions Reduction Plan. She played a key role in developing an agreement between government and food producers in New Zealand to price agricultural emissions – a world-leading initiative.
Rt Hon Ardern passionately believes in multi-stakeholder collaboration to tackle our toughest issues, whether it’s online radicalization or climate change. Alongside her work with Earthshot, Jacinda is currently a Special Envoy on the Christchurch Call to Action.
Jean-Christophe Gray is a former British Civil Servant who served as the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson between 2012 and 2015. In February 2021, he took up his current role as the Private Secretary to Prince William.
Gray is an Oxford and London School of Economics graduate. He began his career at HM Treasury, working in a variety of roles over a decade; including Head of Press Office, and as the Press Secretary and then Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Tokunboh is an impact investor with over 20 years of experience spanning investment banking, private equity investing, technology, and business development in Africa, Europe, and North America.
She is co-founding and managing director of Alitheia Capital, a Nigerian-based investment management and advisory firm focused on channelling private equity into businesses to enhance access to finance, energy and housing for small and growing businesses, and low-income households.
Ms. Ismael is a CFA Charter holder, an Alumnus of the London Business School and a Yale World Fellow. She currently sits on a number of boards including First City Monument, Pagatech and the African Venture Capital Association.
Her previous roles include Country Partner for Nigeria at Aureos Capital (now Abraaj) where she successfully raised capital to complete the first Aureos West Africa Fund and Fund Manager of a technology-focused venture capital fund (Sussex Place Ventures) where she incubated new ventures and commercialized technological innovations.
Jason Knauf LVO is the Founder of Mission Overstory Ltd, a leadership advisory consultancy based in London, and also serves as Global Leadership Fellow at Conservation International.
He spent seven years working for the Prince and Princess of Wales, first as Kensington Palace Communications Director and then as Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Foundation, where he oversaw the creation of The Earthshot Prize.
Before this, he was Director of Corporate Affairs at the Royal Bank of Scotland, served as financial services spokesman at HM Treasury and was Press Secretary to the Financial Services Secretary, Lord Myners. He began his career in New Zealand, where he spent four years as a Press Secretary, Speechwriter, and Communications Advisor to government ministers, including then Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Jason has a Masters in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and was named a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in the King’s New Year Honours in December 2022.
M. Sanjayan is a conservation scientist and chief executive officer of Conservation International, joining in 2014 as Executive Vice President and was named Chief Executive Officer in 2017.
Since his arrival, he has led two landmark capital campaigns totalling $2.7 billion: the development of critical scientific tools, including the irrecoverable carbon atlas and public-private coalition-building for forest restoration. He also launched a pioneering blue carbon project in Colombia, as well as the multilateral Blue Nature Alliance, which aims to protect 18 million sq. km of ocean over five years. Previously, Sanjayan served as lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy.
Born in Sri Lanka and raised in West Africa, Sanjayan brings a unique perspective to his work and has hosted award-winning documentaries from PBS, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Showtime, and Vox Media. Sanjayan holds a master’s degree from the University of Oregon and a PhD in conservation biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Zoë Ware MVO was the Assistant Private Secretary to Prince William from 2018-2022, acting as principal adviser to The Duke on his environmental and conservation work and overseeing the creation of The Earthshot Prize.
In June 2022, Zoë returned to work for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and is now the Acting Deputy High Commissioner & Political Counsellor at the British High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan.
At the start of her career, Zoë spent four years in the charity sector, working for an African Parliamentary capacity-building NGO and the Royal Commonwealth Society. She then joined the Department for International Development, working in various roles including over two years at the British Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Zoë then worked on UK policy towards Africa in both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office.
Zoë graduated from the University of St Andrews with an MA in International Relations and Modern History.