The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established Champions of the Earth in 2004 as an annual awards program to recognize outstanding environmental leaders at a policy level. Six awards are given out each year to a Laureate representing different geographical regions with one additional special prize.
Champions of the Earth is the UN’s highest environmental honor and celebrates outstanding figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society whose actions have had a transformative, positive impact on the environment.
There are four distinct categories:
- Policy leadership – This category recognizes individuals or organizations in the public sector that have brought about profound, positive change for the environment, within their country or internationally.
- Inspiration and action – This category recognizes individuals or organizations that have taken bold environmental action, and, in doing so, inspired others to follow in their footsteps.
- Entrepreneurial vision – This category recognizes individuals or organizations that have challenged the status quo to demonstrate that environmental sustainability is not at odds with financial profitability.
- Science and innovation – This category recognizes individuals or organizations whose groundbreaking work has pushed the boundaries of human knowledge and technology, with profound, positive impact on the environment.
A Global Jury comprising renowned environmental leaders is responsible for reviewing nominations and selecting Champions in each of the four categories. Additionally, the Executive Director of UN Environment may exercise discretion in conferring an award for “Lifetime Achievement” to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding lifelong contribution to the environment.
— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) July 14, 2017