Prince William gets backing from Walmart heir for £50m Earthshot Prize

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STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL BROADCAST – APPROXIMATELY 20.20HRS BST ON SATURDAY 10TH OCTOBER, The Duke of Cambridge’s TED Talk, which was recorded in the grounds of Windsor Castle and focusses on the vision of the Earthshot Prize and the five Earthshots. The talk will be given during Countdown—the first free and virtual TED Conference devoted entirely to championing and accelerating solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. Credit - Kensington Palace - News Scans
STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL BROADCAST – APPROXIMATELY 20.20HRS BST ON SATURDAY 10TH OCTOBER, The Duke of Cambridge’s TED Talk, which was recorded in the grounds of Windsor Castle and focusses on the vision of the Earthshot Prize and the five Earthshots. The talk will be given during Countdown—the first free and virtual TED Conference devoted entirely to championing and accelerating solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. Credit - Kensington Palace - News Scans

The Duke of Cambridge has secured financial backing from an heir to the Walmart empire, the world’s 19th richest man, to fund his £50 million Earthshot Prize.

The Rob & Melani Walton Foundation has joined the list of “founding partners” who have pledged a chunk of their fortunes to fund the environmental award.

Rob Walton, 76, is the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton and took over as chairman of the supermarket giant on his father’s death in 1992. He retired in 2015 and is currently said to be worth more than $63 billion.

By the time he stepped down, 25 per cent of Walmart’s operations were powered by renewable energy and the company announced that it would obtain half of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Mr Walton, who married Melani, his third wife, in 2005, is a director of Conservation International and chairman of the Conservation International Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. He was also a founding supporter of African Parks, of which the Duke of Sussex is president.

The Earthshot Prize is a global award designed to create significant change over the next ten years.

Launched by the Duke in 2019, it will recognise ideas and technologies that can safeguard the planet by offering five prizes of £1 million annually to support environmental and conservation projects.

Taking inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot which united millions of people around an organising goal to put man on the moon and catalysed the development of new technology in the 1960s, The Earthshot Prize is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – simple but ambitious goals for our planet which if achieved by 2030 will improve life for us all, for generations to come. - News Scans
Taking inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot which united millions of people around an organising goal to put man on the moon and catalysed the development of new technology in the 1960s, The Earthshot Prize is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – simple but ambitious goals for our planet which if achieved by 2030 will improve life for us all, for generations to come. - News Scans

Other global alliance founding partners include the Aga Khan Development Network, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Marc and Lynne Benioff.

Meanwhile, Prince William, 38, on Tuesday announced that two young climate change campaigners will be joining the Earthshot judging panel, joking that as he was getting older it was important to have younger generations involved.

He said Luisa Neubauer, 25, and Ernest Gibson, 24, would bring "much needed youthfulness and expertise and activism" to the prize council, which includes broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, actress Cate Blanchett and singer Shakira.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11900676m) Climate activist of Fridays for Future Luisa Neubauer wears a face mask as she stands next to an activist wearing a panda costume in front of the Chancellery during a protest in Berlin, Germany, 12 May 2021. The activists protest as German ministers met earlier the day in the cabinet meeting to adjust the climate law following the ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court. Fridays for Future protest in front of Chancellery in Berlin, Germany - 12 May 2021 - CLEMENS BILAN/Shutterstock
Mandatory Credit: Photo by CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11900676m) Climate activist of Fridays for Future Luisa Neubauer wears a face mask as she stands next to an activist wearing a panda costume in front of the Chancellery during a protest in Berlin, Germany, 12 May 2021. The activists protest as German ministers met earlier the day in the cabinet meeting to adjust the climate law following the ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court. Fridays for Future protest in front of Chancellery in Berlin, Germany - 12 May 2021 - CLEMENS BILAN/Shutterstock

Speaking during a video call with the campaigners, the Duke told them: “It's fantastic to have not only two inspirational people who care an awful lot about the environment and the climate, but also, you know, young people.

"I'm not young any more, so it's nice to have you guys leading the charge.”

Miss Neubauer is the face of the Fridays for Future movement in Germany, which is similar to Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's climate strike movement that inspired millions of youngsters across the world to protest by refusing to go to classes.

Fijian Ernest Gibson is the co-coordinator for 350 Fiji, a regional youth-led climate change network, and a member of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's new Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.

Mr Gibson told the Duke: "I'm tired of being told that you can't do something.

"What we need now is solutions because we don't have time for anything else, we have 10 years basically to be able to turn this ship around."

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