Paulson Institute and Tsinghua University Announce the Winners of the 2021 Paulson Prize for Sustainability

Two organizations received the prestigious award for innovative and transformative solutions that contribute to a sustainable future

November 26, 2021, (Beijing)—2021 is a critical year for climate change and biodiversity conservation. With the conclusion of the first phase meeting of COP 15 and COP 26, the world is achieving consensus and exploring pathways to a sustainable future. The Paulson Prize is more important than ever, as countries around the world are seeking creative thinking and transformative solutions to fulfill sustainability goals.

Since its inception in 2013, the Prize has awarded projects in China that provide innovative, scalable, and market-based solutions to tackle the most pressing climate and environmental challenges. The Prize shines a light on notable projects that offer the most sustainable best practices in China and the rest of the world.

This week, the Paulson Institute, in partnership with Tsinghua University, announced the winners of the 2021 Paulson Prize for Sustainability during a virtual, live-streamed award ceremony. The annual awards went to Forest Eco Bank and Carbon Sink Project of Shunchang County and “Global Cooling:” Innovating HVAC System and Investment Pattern to Boost Energy Efficiency Project in the Nature Stewardship and Green Innovation categories, respectively.

“Today, we have an opportunity to go down a more sustainable path—one where we tackle the twin climate and biodiversity crises together. There is a growing belief that collective effort can make a difference—with an incredible spirit of innovation from business, NGOs, and governments. The combination of these forces, partnered with new thinking, smarter investments, and breakthrough technologies, has the potential to galvanize the world. That’s the essence of what the Paulson Prize celebrates,” said Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Chairman of the Paulson Institute and former US Treasury Secretary.

“Addressing climate change depends on human beings reducing carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality through green innovation while protecting and restoring biodiversity depends on human beings building a community of life for man and nature by respecting, responding to, and protecting nature. We hope that more governments, companies, and organizations will apply for the Prize in the future and provide more innovative market solutions to give new impetus to global sustainable development,” said Yang Bin, Vice President & Provost of Tsinghua University.

The Paulson Prize set up two categories: Nature Stewardship and Green Innovation. The Nature Stewardship category recognizes innovative and scalable projects that preserve and protect the natural environment, while the Green Innovation category promotes climate and environmental solutions.

The Forest Eco Bank and Carbon Sink Project by Shunchang State-owned Forest Farm was awarded the Prize in Nature Stewardship for its sustainable forest management practices and innovative financing models that maximize ecological and social benefits.

“This project can set a great example for many other places in China to utilize natural capital to achieve ecological, economic, and social goals,” said Lynn Scarlett, Jury Committee Co-chair, Chief External Affairs Officer of The Nature Conservancy, Former Deputy Secretary of the US Department of the Interior.

“Global Cooling:” Innovating HVAC System and Investment Pattern to Boost Energy Efficiency Project by Nanjing TICA Climate Solutions was awarded the Prize in Green Innovation. The project stands out for its high-efficiency HVAC solution, market-leading efforts to promote the use of Energy Management contracts that provide scalable solutions to cooling—one of the most critical climate challenges.

“With the urgent and large-scale demand for high-efficiency HVAC system in China and other countries, we believe that the replication of the TICA model will have a positive impact on climate change mitigation and the achievement of the carbon peak and carbon neutrality targets,” said by Zhuang Weimin, Jury Committee Co-chair, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), Professor of Tsinghua University, President and Chief Architect of Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University.

In addition to this year’s awardees, the Prize recognized three other organizations with excellence awards:

  • Large-scale Forest Carbon Sequestration Afforestation Project in Qinghai Province, by Qinghai Forest Carbon Sequestration Service Center
  • Ant Forest, by Ant Forest
  • Innovative Green Energy-Saving Solution for Alibaba Cloud Data Center by Alibaba Cloud Computing

Yuan Chaohong, Mayor of Nanping Municipal People’s Government, and Yang Xuepeng, Executive Vice Mayor of Nanjing Municipal People’s Government attended the virtual ceremony to witness the winning projects from their hometowns.

The China Association of Circular Economy (CACE) and Center for China and Globalization (CCG) is also a supporter of the Paulson Prize.

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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