The Paulson Prize for Sustainability is awarded annually to a project in China that provides an innovative, scalable, and market-based solution at the intersection of economics and the environment. The Prize aims to support China’s transition to a low carbon economy and shine a light on projects that offer sustainable best practices to the rest of the world. The prestigious award was launched by the Paulson Institute in 2013, and has been developed in partnership with Tsinghua University since 2017.


Supporting Organizations

Why Apply?

  • Prestige: Winners will join an esteemed group of past Prize recipients who are taking best-in-class approaches to China’s sustainability challenges. The mayor of the city from where the winning project is based will be invited to participate in the award ceremony.
  • National and Global Exposure: Finalists will receive international and Chinese mainstream media attention, including recognition on the Paulson Institute website and publicity on other influential websites and social media.
  • Empowerment: Finalists will be invited to exclusive opportunities by the Paulson Institute and Tsinghua University, leading to additional intellectual, technical, and financial support to take the project to the next level.


In 2021, the Paulson Prize was awarded to two projects that showcase the categories of Green Innovation and Nature Stewardship. (Click each icon for details)


Green Innovation Award

Nature Stewardship Award


Entities registered in China, including businesses, institutions, social organizations, and NGOs are invited to submit projects that are completed or in operation. Applicants must provide evidence to demonstrate the project’s benefits and impact according to the criteria.

Previous Winners

The Jury Committee

The Prize-winning projects are determined by an independent jury committee composed of prominent international and Chinese leaders in the fields of city planning, economics, finance, energy, ecology, and environmental protection. The jury will evaluate submissions based on agreed criteria and will visit and inspect the short-listed finalists’ projects to decide the winner in each category. 

Green Innovation Award


Tracy R. Wolstencroft

Jury Committee Co-chair, Senior Advisor to TPG Rise Climate,Former President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, Former Partner of Goldman Sachs


Sonja Gibbs

Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, Global Policy Initiatives, Institute of International Finance


Simon Zadek

Chair of Finance for Biodiversity, Former Principal of Project Catalyst, United Nations Development Program


Wang Shi

Founder of China Vanke, Chairman of Vanke Foundation


Zhuang Weimin

Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), President and Chief Architect of Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University

Nature Stewardship Award


Ma Keping

Jury Committee Co-chair, IUCN Councilor and Chair for Asia Regional Members Committee, Deputy Director-General for Biodiversity Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor


Ma Guangren

Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of China Wetland Conservation Association, Former Director of Wetland Conservation and Management Center of State Forestry Administration


Niu Gensheng

Founder and Honorary President of Lao Niu Foundation, Founder of Mengniu Dairy Group


Lynn Scarlett

Chief External Affairs Officer of The Nature Conservancy, Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior


Yang Rui

Co-founder, Chair and Professor of the Department of Landscape Architecture, Tsinghua University; Founder and Dean of the National Park Research Institute of Tsinghua University

Apply for the Prize

All applications must be submitted online on or before July 31, 2022. For inquiries, please contact prize@PaulsonInstitute.org.

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