About the award

From grassroots champions and corporate leaders to political pioneers, we celebrate champions taking bold action for our world.

Now is the time to step up. We need heroes to champion change.  

Every year, we celebrate individuals, groups and institutions. They are transforming our economies, shaping new and sustainable technology and leading political change. They fight environmental injustice, protect our environment and defend our natural resources.

The UN Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth award is the world’s flagship environmental honor. Since 2005, we have recognized heroes who inspire, encourage others to join them, and defend a cleaner future.

Champions of the Earth are celebrated in four categories:

  • Policy leadership – individuals or organizations in the public sector leading global or national action for the environment. They shape dialogue, lead commitments and act for the good of the planet.
  • Inspiration and action – individuals or organizations taking bold steps to inspire positive change to protect our world. They lead by example, challenge behavior and inspire millions.
  • Entrepreneurial vision – individuals or organizations challenging the status quo to build a cleaner future. They build systems, create new technology and spearhead a groundbreaking vision. 
  • Science and innovation – individuals or organizations who push the boundaries of technology for profound environmental benefit. They invent possibilities for a more sustainable world.

Since 2005, Champions of the Earth has recognized 93 laureates, ranging from world leaders to technology inventors.

They include 22 world leaders, 57 individuals and 14 groups or organizations

These trailblazers are making a difference to protect our planet for the next generation.

The world needs champions such as these more than ever, as we race to decisively cut carbon emissions before the worst effects of global warming and environmental destruction become inevitable. 

“As Champions of the Earth, we are fulfilling what we feel is our responsibility: protecting wildlife, conserving ecosystems, pushing for healthier oceans, and incorporating sustainability into our day-to-day operations.”

National Geographic Society Science and innovation award