London: A solar-powered tech venture that is combating food waste in India and a global regenerative agriculture initiative founded by a Karnataka professional are among the five winners of the GBP 1 million 2023 Earthshot Prize, founded by Britain’s Prince William and referred to as the ‘Eco Oscars’.
S4S Technologies, founded in 2013 by six university friends Nidhi Pant, Vaibhav Tidke, Swapnil Kokte, Ganesh Bhere, Shital Somani, Tushar Gaware and Ashwin Pawade, was named the winner in the “Build a Waste-Free World” category at an awards ceremony in Singapore on Tuesday.
In the “Fix Our Planet” category, Aadith Moorthy’s Boomitra emerged as the winner for its work with struggling farmers the world over.
“The last year has been one of great change and even greater challenge. A year in which the effects of the climate crisis have become too visible to be ignored,” said William, the Prince of Wales.
“The light of optimism is burning bright in our Earthshot Finalists. From Boomitra, S4S, and Acción Andina, to GRST and WildAid Marine Program, our winners and all our finalists remind us that, no matter where you are on our planet, the spirit of ingenuity, and the ability to inspire change, surrounds us all,” he said.
S4S, which stands for Science for Society, was set up with the aim of creating a waste-free food system and to transform the lives of millions of women farmers.
“S4S, along with women farmers, are creating a new food ecosystem that reduces wastage and mitigates the increase in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions while meeting the world’s food needs,” said co-founder Nidhi Pant.
“With empowered women farmers taking leadership to fight climate change by ensuring food security, increasing incomes, creating jobs, boosting local economies, and advocating with the government, women farmers have emerged as key-partners in driving lasting impact,” she said.
Boomitra, which means “friend of the earth” in Sanskrit, is a soil carbon marketplace that rewards farmers for sustainable land management practices. The company works with more than 150,000 farmers, from half-acre smallholder farms to large ranchers, managing more than 5 million acres of land in some of the poorest parts of Africa, South America and Asia.
“This prize is a recognition of the hard work and dedication of our partners on the ground, the Boomitra team, and all the farmers we work with, who work every single day towards moving the needle on climate change,” said Aadith Moorthy, Boomitra CEO and Founder.
In 2017, he was passing through an Indian village when he came across a funeral procession mourning the death of a farmer who, left destitute after a crop failure, had taken his own life. This emotional moment sparked questions in his mind and led to the creation of Boomitra, which today has a base around the world including in Bengaluru.
The other winners of the 2023 prize include South American forest protection initiative Accion Andina; Battery recycling project GRST from Hong Kong; and US-headquartered WildAid Marine Program which is combatting illegal fishing.
During a glittering awards ceremony in Singapore to be telecast over the weekend, the five winners chosen from among the 15 worldwide innovators and entrepreneurs named as 2023 Earthshot Prize Finalists were each awarded a catalytic GBP 1 million prize to help scale their solutions and accelerate their growth and impact.
(Published 09 November 2023, 06:10 IST)