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Earthshot Prize winner’s products used at Aston Villa – thanks to fan William

An Earthshot Prize winner’s products are being used to serve match-day food at Aston Villa Football Club – thanks to fan the Prince of Wales.

William founded the prize to recognise and scale-up ideas to help “repair” the planet and was instrumental in helping sustainable packaging company Notpla trial its cartons at the West Midlands club he supports.

Singapore will host the 2023 Earthshot Prize ceremony next month, attended by the prince, and a United for Wildlife summit, William’s umbrella body tackling the illegal trade in animal parts.

Since the start of Aston Villa’s season, pie and mash, burgers and hotdogs have been served up in cardboard containers featuring a seaweed-derived coating – not a plastic film – that means cartons can be recycled, and trials have also taken place at fellow Premier League club Tottenham.

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Pierre Paslier, co-founder and chief executive of Notpla, which in 2022 won the Build a Waste-Free World Earthshot category, said about William’s role in the trial at Villa: “He connected us, he made that connection happen.”

He said about Villa and Tottenham: “Two very first, significant trials that brought us to the attention of the catering companies that we could actually do something about reducing the production of their plastic waste.

“That’s been really exciting, to have a chance of being around the table and present for what we do, and now what’s really exciting is how do we turn those three, four stadiums into 40, 50 and this is what we’re hopefully announcing in the coming quarter.”

William held his first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at London’s Alexandra Palace in 2021, with Boston hosting the event last year – an ambitious project which each year presents five category winners with £1 million each to scale up their environmental ideas.

Prince of Wales visit to Sustainable Ventures
The Prince of Wales with staff members from ENSO, a 2023 Finalist of The Earthshot Prize (Kate Green/PA)

Among the 2023 finalists are ENSO, a British-based company that has created a more efficient electric vehicle tyre that sheds fewer particles, while Sea Forest from Australia has developed a seaweed-based livestock feed to reduce the planet-warming methane emissions from cattle and sheep.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “The prince is very much looking forward to being in Singapore and that his ambition with the Earthshot Prize and United for Wildlife while we are out there is huge.

“The prince wants to really seize the opportunity of being in South East Asia to build more momentum around the Earthshot Prize winners and finalists and to put their solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges we face firmly on the global map.

“He’s also committed to shining a light on the abhorrent illegal wildlife trade that United for Wildlife works so hard to tackle and bring in more partners than ever to help us do this.”

Prince William
As a big Aston Villa fan, the Prince of Wales was able to connect Notpla with the club (Rui Vieira/PA)

William, along with celebrity supporters of Earthshot, is expected to fly to Singapore by a commercial not private flight, and other measures will be in place, say organisers, to make the event as sustainable as possible.

During his four-day trip, which begins on November 5, the prince will take part in “Earthshot Week”, a series of events bringing together businesses and investors with past winners and current finalists to accelerate their solutions.

William will take part in dragon boating, meet Singaporeans to learn how they are working locally to protect the planet and the 15 finalists will take part in a “fellowship” retreat that will give them networking opportunities.

Hannah Jones, Earthshot Prize’s chief executive officer, said: “Singapore is at the heart of climate action movement in South East Asia and the country exemplifies how to leverage technology, capital and human ingenuity to work collaboratively to solve the toughest of environmental challenges.

“In the face of worsening climate impacts, Singaporeans are researching solutions to protect coastal cities from rising seas, they’re pursuing novel ways to cool down its citizens on a warming planet and positioning themselves as a global carbon market hub.”