UN Environment seeks out fresh ideas

UN Environment seeks out fresh ideas for Young Champions of the Earth Prize

  • UN Environment and Covestro call on young innovators to submit creative solutions to pressing environmental challenges.
  • Seven 2018 Young Champions of the Earth will be selected to each receive seed-funding, training and publicity.
  • Up to 50 applicants will receive access to an expert community of mentors.

Nairobi, 27 February 2018 – For the second year running, UN Environment and Covestro are calling on 18-30-year-old innovators to submit their creative solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Representing every global region, seven applicants with the most promising solutions will be recognized as Young Champions of the Earth – the world’s preeminent environmental honour for young people. Each winner will receive USD 15,000 in seed funding, customized training, participation in a high-level UN meeting and global publicity.

In parallel, up to 50 applicants will be granted privileged access to an online mentoring programme. A community of experts drawn from Covestro’s 16,000 global employees will become mentors dedicated to strengthening the viability and impact of the mentees’ ideas.

By providing such technical and financial support, UN Environment and Covestro will help young people to scale up their big ideas into real workable solutions for environmental problems and, in doing so, inspire others to take action.

"There is not a single environmental problem today that we cannot innovate our way out of. It's therefore essential that we do our best to empower and inspire young entrepreneurs," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. "When we tap into that creativity, we can unearth fresh thinking and new possibilities for the sustainable future of our Earth. Young people are the leaders of today, not just tomorrow. They are the key to a clean, green and pollution-free planet."

“It’s not just a pleasure for us to continue to support UN Environment with the Young Champions of the Earth program, but a necessity because sustainability, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, play such a huge part in what we do every single day at Covestro to tackle some of the complex environmental challenges we all face,” says Patrick Thomas, Covestro CEO.

The 2017 Young Champions hailed from across Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, West Asia, and the Asia/Pacific regions. They showcased bold visions for environmental change across a number of industries: a resource-efficient food growing system for commercial greenhouses; a project that introduces native plants to cover rooftops; a closed-loop apparel manufacturing hub; an innovative approach to managing aquatic weeds; the deployment of biogas plants in conflict-stricken communities and a modular hydroponics food-growing system.

Read more about last year’s winners here.

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.

Interested environmentalists between the ages of 18 and 30 are encouraged to submit their big ideas here by midnight GMT on 2 April 2018.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Shari Nijman, News and Media, nijman@un.org, +254720673046