Wednesday - December 6, 2017

UN honors global competition winners for ideas on protecting the environment

Inaugural Young Champions of the Earth celebrated

Covestro supports talents in implementing innovative projects
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The winners of UNEP program „Young Champions of the Earth“ are addressed by Richard Northcote (l.), Chief Sustainability Officer von Covestro, and Ellie Goulding (2. f.l.), singer and Global Goodwill Ambassador by UN Environment.

Six young people from across the globe have been awarded as Young Champions of the Earth by UN Environment for their oustanding ideas on environmental protection. They are the first winners of this new award that is sponsored by Covestro, a leading manufacturer of materials for sustainable development. On Tuesday, the six winners of the global competition received their prizes at a gala event coinciding with a meeting of the United Nations Environment General Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

With ideas that offer novel solutions to today’s pressing environmental challenges, each winner (listed below) receives USD 15,000 in seed funding, expert mentoring, needs-based training and access to powerful networks to help them implement their plans over the coming year.

The awards ceremony heard short presentations from the winners and was also addressed by UN Environment head Erik Solheim and by singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding, who was recognized this year as Global Goodwill Ambassador by UN Environment for her environmental and social justice activism.

The ‘master of ceremonies’ was model, actor and film producer Dia Mirza, UN Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India who has been recognized for her contribution to environment conservation.

Richard Northcote, Covestro Chief Sustainability Officer, told the assembly that the success of the first Young Champions of the Earth competition meant Covestro would continue to support the UN Environment initiative.

Helping to tackle complex global challenges

“As one of the world’s leading contributors of materials for sustainable development, it was an easy decision for Covestro to partner with UN Environment to inspire and motivate young people across the world to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and help tackle some of the complex social and environmental challenges we all face,” said Northcote, who also outlined efforts by Covestro to be more productive with carbon as a way to contribute to global goals.

Northcote added: “Covestro seeks to contribute to this with products and technologies which benefit society and reduce the impact on the environment. I truly hope that the Young Champions’ ideas will significantly contribute to addressing some of the sustainable development goals we all feel so passionately about.”

"Young Champions are living proof that amid today’s environmental and economic crises, there are incredible opportunities for innovative solutions, fresh approaches and inspirational leadership. This is a fantastic partnership founded on a shared passion for empowering aspiring change-makers," said Solheim, underlining both partners’ commitment to support young talents in implementing their bright ideas.

The Young Champions of the Earth for 2017, selected for their outstanding potential to create positive environmental impact, are:

Europe – Adam Dixon
Phytoponics: a hydroponic growing system for the commercial greenhouse

North America – Kaya Dorey
Closed-loop apparel manufacturing hub

Latin America & the Caribbean – Liliana Jaramillo Pazmiño
Native plants for green roofs in Quito

West Asia – Omer Badokhon
Biogas for all: improving rural livelihoods with sustainable energy

Africa – Mariama Mamane
Innovative eco-management of water hyacinth

Asia Pacific – Eritai Kateibwi
Te Maeu Project: a modular hydroponics food-growing system for Pacific islands

Details of their winning submissions are available on the Young Champions section of the UN Environment website at

About Covestro:
With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 15,600 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2016.

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