2023 Paulson Prize for Sustainability Now Open for Applications

Celebrating the 10-year Journey of Sustainable Innovation

April 18, 2023 (Beijing)—The Paulson Institute, in partnership with Tsinghua University, announces the 2023 Paulson Prize for Sustainability is accepting applications until June 30. Entities registered in mainland China, including businesses, institutions, social organizations, and NGOs, are invited to submit projects demonstrating ingenuity and leadership in sustainable development. Applications are available at PaulsonInstitute.org/prize.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Paulson Prize. Now more than ever, it is critical for the Prize to provide a forum that recognizes the creative efforts that can help meet climate goals. With a new Global Biodiversity Framework agreed upon at COP 15 in December 2022 and the ongoing implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, there is a growing demand for innovative solutions that lead to a net-zero and nature-positive future.

“This year, we are excited to celebrate our 10-year journey by bringing the Prize network together through a special series of inspiring dialogues, events, and engagements with Prize alumni,” said Deborah Lehr, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the Paulson Institute. “In the months and years ahead, the Paulson Prize will continue to advance its unique role as a platform to bring market players together to take their sustainability solutions to the next level.”

“As the Paulson Prize for Sustainability celebrates its 10th anniversary, Tsinghua University will continue to collaborate closely with the Paulson Institute to enhance the global influence of the Paulson Prize and further promote China’s innovation and leadership in the field of sustainable development. Together, we aim to contribute China’s strength to solving global issues and advancing sustainable development around the world,” said Yang Bin, Vice President of Tsinghua University.

“If we are to meet our climate and biodiversity targets, we must expand the scope and scale of our actions beyond incremental change towards identifying potential game changers and innovators that put us on a path to a stable climate and a nature-positive economy, improving water, food, energy, social and ecological security,” said Siddharth Chatterjee, United Nations Resident Coordinator in China. “Our ability to achieve the SDGs will depend on those innovations.”

Siddharth Chatterjee, United Nations Resident Coordinator in China, congratulated the 10th anniversary of the Paulson Prize and delivered a video message, and Erik Solheim, the Sixth and former UN Environment Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended the launch and delivered a keynote speech.

In its 10th year, the Paulson Prize awards projects in Green Innovation and Nature Stewardship. These categories recognize projects around the built environment and nature conservation. An independent jury committee of prominent international and Chinese leaders in city planning, economics, finance, energy, ecology, and environmental protection determines the Prize-winning projects. The jury will evaluate submissions based on agreed criteria and inspect the short-listed finalists’ projects to decide the winner in each category.


The Paulson Prize—Green Innovation awards solutions that respond to climate change, improve the built environment, accelerate the upgrading of the energy structure and promote low-carbon development to build a future of environmental sustainability and economic growth. This category includes solutions for resource conservation, comprehensive utilization of resources, the circular economy, pollution prevention and control, energy-saving, and emission reduction.

Tracy R. Wolstencroft, Jury Co-chair in Green Innovation, Senior Advisor to TPG Rise Climate, Former President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, and Former Partner of Goldman Sachs, provided a detailed introduction to the “Green Innovation” category. In his keynote, he stated, “We are at a pivotal time during the transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy, where capital, technology, and policy must align to enable growth in green initiatives and industries at a significant pace and scale. The Paulson Prize for Sustainability represents a unique opportunity for public and private sector leaders in green innovation to receive national and international recognition to elevate and accelerate climate and sustainability innovation.”

The Paulson Prize—Nature Stewardship is designed to attract and encourage solutions that improve the natural environment to meet the urgent challenges of ecological degradation and biodiversity loss and to inspire people to live in harmony with nature. This category recognizes innovative, sustainable, and scalable solutions and mechanisms for protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, and enhancement of ecosystem services.

Professor MA Keping, Paulson Prize Jury Committee Co-chair, Chairman of IUCN Asia Regional Members Committee, and Deputy Director-General for the Biodiversity Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, delivered a keynote speech and gave a thorough overview of the Nature Stewardship category, said, “To achieve the goal of curbing and reversing the global loss of biodiversity by 2030, we must mobilize the entire society, and unleash the innovation and pragmatic spirit of all parties. The Paulson Prize – Nature Stewardship category provides an opportunity for us to discover and promote innovative solutions in the field of biodiversity conservation. Through the Prize, we select pioneers in nature conservation to demonstrate trends and directions in nature stewardship.”

In 2013, the Paulson Institute launched the Prize to annually award projects in China that present innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The main objective of the Prize is to lead the global sustainability transformation by inspiring new thinking and shining a light on projects that offer the most potential to meet these challenges, both in China and around the world.

The Paulson Prize appreciates the support of the China Association of Circular Economy, the World Business Council For Sustainable Development, AmCham China, C-Team, the Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation, and the Yicai Media Group.

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


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

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 now 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:
Jing Wang, Senior Manager of Communications