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, including the Shenzhen Ecological Energy Park, Beijing Goldenway Bio-tech, Anheng Group, among others. 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 will be 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


Zhuang Weimin

Jury Committee Co-chair, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), President and Chief Architect of Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University


Sonja Gibbs

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


Wang Shi

Founder of China Vanke, Chairman of Vanke Foundation


Tracy R. Wolstencroft

Former President and CEO of the National Geographic Society


Simon Zadek

Principal of Project Catalyst, United Nations Development Program

Nature Stewardship Award


Lynn Scarlett

Jury Committee Co-chair, Chief External Affairs Officer of The Nature Conservancy, Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior


Ma Guangren

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


Ma Keping

Deputy Director General for Biodiversity Committee, Professor of Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Chairman of IUCN Asia Regional Members Committee


Niu Gensheng

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


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 June 30, 2021. For enquiries, please contact Prize@paulsoninstitute.org.

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