2021 Paulson Prizes for Sustainability Now Open for Applications

The Annual Awards Highlight Innovative Solutions for Green Finance and Conservation

Beijing—The Paulson Institute, in partnership with Tsinghua University, announces that the 2021 Paulson Prizes for Sustainability are accepting applications. In 2013, the Paulson Institute launched the Prize to award projects annually in China that present innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to address the most pressing climate and environmental challenges.

“In this post-pandemic era, many countries are seeking a green recovery—one that protects nature and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon global economy,” said Henry M. Paulson, Jr., chairman, and founder of the Paulson Institute. “By shining a light on the most innovative green programs in China, The Paulson Prize seeks to highlight and inspire the adoption of sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for other countries.”

The Paulson Prize, now in its eighth year, expanded last year to include a second award for Nature Stewardship to award projects centered around conservation and biodiversity protection. The new category recognizes innovative and scalable projects that preserve and protect the natural environment, including the restoration of natural ecosystems in China, such as wetlands, forests, oceans, rivers, grasslands, and deserts. The Green Innovation category will remain, as in years past, focused on the built environment, including energy conservation, comprehensive utilization of resources, the circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and climate resilience.

“China has now entered a new stage of high-quality development. Facing the development goal of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, China has demonstrated its determination in fostering more outstanding innovations on the road to promote the world’s sustainable development,” said Chen Xu, Chairperson of the University Council, Tsinghua University. “It has always been the mission of the Paulson Prize to gather innovative forces from all walks of life, actively promote green development, and realize the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.

An independent jury comprised of prominent international and Chinese leaders in economics, finance, energy, ecology, and environmental protection determines the winners of the Paulson Prizes. The jury evaluates submissions based upon creativity, environmental and ecological impact, scalability, financing, and social and economic benefits. The jury visits and inspects the short-listed finalists to select the winning project in each category. The winners will receive the Paulson Prizes during a public ceremony in Beijing this November.


Green Innovation
The Green Innovation Prize awards environmental sustainability and economic growth solutions that tackle climate change, improve the built environment, and promote a low carbon economy, to create a future. The category includes solutions for energy conservation, comprehensive utilization of resources, the circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and climate resilience. It encourages the application of innovative models, green and emerging technologies, including but not limited to green finance products and services, 5G, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence.

Nature Stewardship
The Nature Stewardship Prize awards solutions that improve the natural environment, meet the urgent challenges of ecological degradation and biodiversity loss, and inspire people to live in harmony with nature. This category includes solutions in the protection and restoration of all types of natural ecosystems in China, biodiversity conservation, enhancement of ecosystem services, and encourages the application of innovative models or mechanisms, such as mitigation banking and ecological funds.

Previous winners include the City Waste Battery Recycle and Reuse Project from Wuhan, Haikou Wetland Protection and Restoration Project, Shenzhen Waste to Energy Plant and NIMBY Mitigation Project, Bio-based Green Lubricating Oil Project from Jinhua, Organic Waste Recycling and Farmland Quality Improvement Project from Chengdu, Sustainable City Water Supply Network Leakage Control Solution from Beijing, Shenzhen International Low-Carbon City Project, and Jiaxing Nanhu New Country Village Project.

Entities registered in mainland China, including businesses, institutions, social organizations, and NGOs, are invited to submit projects demonstrating ingenuity and leadership in sustainable development by June 30, 2021. An application is available here.

For more information, please visit PaulsonInstitute.org/prize.


About the Paulson Institute
The Paulson Institute is a non-partisan, independent “think and do tank” dedicated to fostering a US-China relationship that serves to maintain global order in a rapidly evolving world. Our focus on US-China is dictated by the reality that it is the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world. We often operate at the intersection of economics, financial markets, environmental protection, and policy advocacy, in part by promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth. Founded in 2011 by former US Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., the Institute is based in Chicago with offices in Washington and Beijing.

About Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University was established in 1911. With the motto of “Self-Discipline and Social Commitment” and the spirit of “Actions Speak Louder than Words,” Tsinghua University is dedicated to the well-being of Chinese society and world development. At present, the university has 14 schools and 56 departments with faculties in science, engineering, humanities, law, medicine, history, philosophy, economics, management, education, and art. The University has over 25,900 students, including 13,100 undergraduates and 12,800 graduate students. As one of China’s most renowned universities, Tsinghua has become an important institution for fostering talent and scientific research.

Media Contact:
Tina Ren, Communications Director