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Alumnus Sam Cooper (pictured second from right) represents Durham as a finalist in HRH Prince William’s prestigious Earthshot Prize this year.

Purple Line Separator Slim

UPDATE November 2023

On Tuesday 7 November, the Earthshot Prize winners were announced globally following an awards ceremony in Singapore. Five winners were revealed:

So while ENSO weren't named as the winners of the 'Clean our Air' category, we remain proud of our alumnus Sam Cooper and his involvement in a team which was recognised as a shortlisted finalist of this prestigious international award. With over 1,100 nominations originally submitted at the start of the 2023 Earthshot Prize process, reaching the final 15 represents a stunning achievement in itself!

Watch the Earthshot Prize

The 2023 Earthshot Prize awards ceremony will be broadcast internationally from Sunday 12 November. Tune in on one of the channels below to watch:

  • UK - BBC One, Sunday 12 November, 5:20pm (GMT)
  • USA - PBS, Sunday 12 November, 7pm (EST)
  • Singapore - MediaCorp Channel 5, Monday 13 November 9:30pm (SGT)
  • Australia - 9Now, Monday 13 November; and 9Gem, Friday 17 November
  • Rest of the world - watch on the Earthshot Prize YouTube Channel from Sunday 12 November, 5:20pm (GMT)

Purple Line Separator SlimDurham alumnus Sam Cooper graduated with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at Collingwood College in 2005 before embarking on a career with the British Army and JP Morgan. He became one of the first hires at ENSO as Head of Operations in 2022 – now a four-person strong team.

ENSO, with Sam on board, has been shortlisted as one of three international finalists in the ‘Clean our Air’ category. This ‘Earthshot’ has at its heart a focus on ensuring that everyone on the planet can breathe clean, healthy air at World Health Organization standard or better.

Founded by Gunnlaugur Erlendsson in 2016, ENSO is on a mission to reinvent the wheel and make the air cleaner for all, creating a new generation of tyres for electric vehicles in an effort to reduce the particulate matter pollution caused by tyre wear.  

Last year’s Earthshot Prize saw Durham alumni Natasha Boulding, Scott Bush and Phil Buckley named as shortlisted finalists in the ‘Fix our Climate’ category with their company Low Carbon Materials. We are proud to be represented by Sam once again in 2023.

The Earthshot Prize 2023

The Earthshot Prize was launched by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 2020 to discover and help scale the world’s most innovative climate and environmental solutions to protect and restore our planet. Prize entrants are those finding solutions that address one of five ‘Earthshots’: Build a Waste-Free World; Protect and Restore Nature; Clean our Air; Revive our Ocean; and Fix our Climate.

Representing six countries and chosen from over 1,300 nominees, 15 finalists were announced in September during the second Earthshot Innovation Summit in New York City. Each of the finalists will be in the running to receive one of five £1 million prizes awarded at the third annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony taking place in Singapore later this year.

Speaking on aim of the Prize, the Prince of Wales noted:

 “I know our generation can take the bold action we need to make changes towards a healthy and sustainable world. The challenge may feel huge, but as John F. Kennedy taught us, we rise to the challenge not because it is easy, but because it is hard. And vital.”

Sam said of his involvement in ENSO’s Earthshot Prize finalist shortlisting:

“It’s been brilliant to be involved from the very early stages at ENSO and to have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the business while seeing it come to life. The Earthshot nomination is great recognition for the hard work put in by the whole team and important validation of the concept and its potential impact. The exposure and coverage generated has been immense and will give us the platform to successfully scale-up operations.”

Good luck to Sam & ENSO

Five winners will be selected by the Earthshot Prize Council, a diverse team of influential individuals committed to using their platforms to champion inspiring leadership and elevate urgent efforts to repair and regenerate the planet. Council Members include: HRH Prince William, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Cate Blanchett, Sir David Attenborough, Ernest Gibson, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Jack Ma, Stella McCartney, Yao Ming, Luisa Neubauer, Indra Nooyi, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Naoko Yamazaki.

The awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday 7 November 2023 in Singapore as part of an inaugural Earthshot Week. Ahead of this, we would like to wish Sam and ENSO a big ‘good luck’ – Durham will be cheering you on!

About ENSO

Headquartered in London, ENSO is a tyre technology company specialising in tires that are optimised for electric vehicles (EVs). ENSO tyres increase EV range without reducing performance and their improved durability cuts particulate-matter pollution - a significant contributor to air and microplastic pollution. With a direct-to-consumer model ENSO delivers tyres made from the highest grade of raw materials whilst maintaining a cost-effective product for consumers by shifting the financial incentive towards more durable tyres that generate revenue via a pay-per-mile subscription model.

ENSO is the only tyre company in the world that is a Certified B-Corporation, a recognition of its commitment to the highest environmental, social and governance standards. The company has garnered support from over 1,200 investors, including the UK Government through the UK Future Fund, in collaboration with the UK Treasury and the British Business Bank. ENSO is equipping its range-extending EV tyres on the iconic London electric taxi, and EV delivery fleets. It aims to manufacture over one million low-emission tyres annually by 2026, expanding to North America in 2024.

Main picture (L-R): Gunnlaugur Erlendsson (Founder & CEO, ENSO), His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, James Goodwin (Chief of Staff, ENSO), Sam Cooper (Head of Operations, ENSO), Luke Jahn (Finance & Strategy, ENSO)


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