29 Jan 2019 Press release Education & environment

Dare to invent the future: Apply to be a UN Young Champion of the Earth

Nairobi, 28 January 2019 – The United Nations announced today that it is calling for nominations for the 2019 Young Champions of the Earth – the organization’s most prestigious prize for brave environmental entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 30 with a big idea for the world’s future. 

Each of the seven winners will receive $15,000 seed money to invest in their projects, $9,000 to invest in communicating and marketing their projects, invitations and funding to attend high-level UN meetings to share their big ideas with the world, and tailored training and mentorship.

Launched in 2017, the Young Champions of the Earth prize is inspired by the long-running Champions of the Earth Award, which remains the highest environmental honor of the United Nations. By engaging young visionaries, UN Environment seeks to engage the next generation of change-makers and thought-leaders as they set out to build a brighter world.

 “The United Nation’s Young Champions of the Earth prize combines two ingredients that are critical to save our planet – innovation and the drive of young people. We need both in equal measure to address the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges,” said Joyce Msuya, UN Environment Acting Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.

With climate change threatening the existence of our natural ecosystems and societies, the competition’s organisers hope to find individuals who see beyond the crisis and have the courage to invent the future by carving their place in a new and greener economy.

The 2019 Young Champions of the Earth will be given a platform to become change agents, protecting the environment through their revolutionary ideas and radical innovation for people, planet and even for profit.

The prize is powered by Covestro, a leading manufacturer of materials for sustainable development. Chief Executive Officer, Markus Steilemann, said: “Engaging with the Young Champions from the past two years has demonstrated how much concern – and commitment – they have over the future of our planet. Their passion is very much shared by myself and Covestro’s employees. I am delighted to help kick-off the third round of this global competition – a brilliant platform to help young professionals make their dreams become reality. Together we can make the world a brighter place.”

Previous UN Young Champions of the Earth have spearheaded bold, brave ideas addressing numerous sustainable development goals through high and low-tech innovations: from indigenous rooftop gardens tackling air pollution, to a mobile application which tracks and assists in influencing sustainable consumption off users till receipts; from farming coral to restore degraded reefs, to eco-conscious apparel;  from diving centers powered by citizen science, to a novel technology which filters and converts 90% of particulates from diesel generators into printer ink.  

The UN is now searching for the next Young Champions of the Earth for 2019. Following an open call for applications, a global jury will select the seven 2019 winners. Each winner will be expected to implement their big idea and keep UN Environment and partners updated on their progress by producing vlogs and blogs.

Interested environmentalists between the ages of 18 and 30 are encouraged to submit their big ideas here by midnight GMT on 31 March 2019.



About Young Champions of the Earth
Young Champions of the Earth is a forward-looking prize designed to breathe life into the ambitions of brilliant young environmentalists. Celebrating young people with a big idea to protect or restore the environment; a vision for a more sustainable future; and a strong track record of instigating change. They are unafraid of failure; believe in a bright future for our planet, and have what it takes to be a Young Champion of the Earth. 

About Covestro
With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2017.

About UN Environment
UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. 

For more information, please contact:

Georgina Smith, Young Champions of the Earth, UN Environment
Shari Nijman, News and Media Unit, UN Environment