In March 2022, together with Zero Waste Europe and the Break Free From Plastic movement, Mission Zero Academy has been nominated by the Plastic Pollution Coalition for the 2022 Earthshot Prize regarding its work on the world’s first Zero Waste Cities Certification.
The most prestigious global prize for the environment in history, the Earthshot Prize seeks to turn the often pessimist tide surrounding environmental issues into an optimistic one – and does so by recognising and celebrating the ability of human ingenuity to create change and inspire collective action.
What is the Earthshot Prize?
First established in 2020 by The Royal Foundation and with the first-ever prizes awarded in 2021, the Earthshot Prize celebrates impactful environmental achievements across the globe. Foreseen to run yearly until 2030, this Prize rewards its winners with 1 million pounds so that they can continue and increase their environmental work. The Prize was inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is divided into five categories (the Earthshots):
- Protect & Restore Nature;
- Clean our Air;
- Review our Oceans;
- Build a Waste-Free World; and
- Fix our Climate.
Every year, hundreds of organisations and projects are nominated for the Earthshot Prize by a group of Nominators (comprising 345 entities in 80 countries, with the Plastic Pollution Coalition among them). All nominations go through a thorough screening and evaluation process, which takes into account the inspiring stories behind each nominee; factors such as inclusion, societal benefits, and equity. The selection criteria also give primacy to solutions that are past their conceptual/embryonic phase and can demonstrate either working prototypes or tangible impacts which can be readily scaled or replicated.
Why is the Mission Zero Academy nominated?
Right after its one-year birthday celebration, MiZA got nominated for its work on the world’s first Zero Waste Cities Certification (ZWCC), which was built on a decade of professional expertise and on-the-ground experience from Zero Waste Europe – in particular, from the efforts and activities run by its Zero Waste Cities programme and members’ work.
In this first year of operation, the certification system has proven its concept by attracting bigger cities – and even capital cities like Riga -, as well as settlements from countries without existing zero waste cities. With its inherent impact on a waste-free world and lifting the grassroots – combined with it being on a tipping point for scaling up -, we daresay that the Earthshot criteria are more than covered.
“2021 was an ignition year both for MiZA and the certification. Being nominated for the Earthshot is great proof that what we have created is impactful, inspiring and has huge potential to trigger systemic change.”, explained Kaisa Karjalainen, MiZA’s Coordinator. “We are excited that the Plastic Pollution Coalition has noticed our work and are honoured to be nominated. Last year we saw a general big increase in the interest in cities to start their journeys towards zero waste and our certification is a great way to get there. We have a solid foundation for our work, great partners and customers, and now, with this nomination, we’re even more determined to fill Europe with Certified Zero Waste Cities!”
“This nomination is a wonderful recognition of the hard work that has taken place at the local level in Europe over the past 15 years. I hope this nomination will provide some extra visibility to the leaders and pioneers who have been behind the success stories of our 460+ existing zero waste cities.”, added our colleague Jack McQuibban, Coordinator of the Cities & Communities programme at Zero Waste Europe, and the bridge between the implementation of the Certification by MiZA and the knowledge and efforts led by ZWE members at the local level. “The Cities Certification is the formalisation and natural evolution of our zero waste cities work that has been developing since 2007. Yet the current environmental crises we face calls for more urgent action, and with the Zero Waste Cities Certification, we have the tool to meet this challenge – we’re only just getting started!”
Want to know more about the Zero Waste Cities Certification? Find out more here!