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UN Honors Global Competition Winners for Ideas on Protecting the Environment - Inaugural Young Champions of the Earth Celebrated

Published 12-06-17

Submitted by Covestro LLC

(l. to r.) Young Champions Adam Dixon, Eritai Kateibwi, Omer Badokhon and Liliana Jaramillo Pazmiño; singer/songwriter and UN Environment Global Goodwill Ambassador Ellie Goulding; Young Champions Kaya Dorey and Mariama Mamane; and Richard Northcote.

During this week’s United Nations Environment General Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, six young people from across the globe were honored as the first-ever Young Champions of the Earth by UN Environment for their outstanding ideas on environmental protection. The new award is sponsored by Covestro, a leading manufacturer of materials for sustainable development.

Click to tweet: The @UNEP has selected the top six #YoungChamps ideas on how to protect the environment. Each of the  winners will receive $15,000 in seed funding and expert mentoring from @CovestroGroup. Read more:

The Young Champions of the Earth awards are given to individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 who offer novel solutions to today’s pressing environmental challenges. Each winner (listed below) receives $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. Twenty-nine-year-old Kaya Dorey was selected as the Young Champion for North America, in recognition of her sustainable apparel business, called NOVEL SUPPLY CO.

Dorey and the other winners received their prizes at a gala event December 5,  where they were addressed by UN Environment Head Erik Solheim and singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding, who was appointed by UN Environment as a Global Goodwill Ambassador 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 [SDGs] and help tackle some of the complex social and environmental challenges we all face,” said Northcote.

His colleague Rebecca Lucore, head of corporate social responsibility and sustainability for Covestro in North America, added: “We are helping to foster young, innovative eco-entrepreneurs who are committed to the three Ps – people, planet, prosperity – and are translating the global SDGs into local action in regions around the world.”

“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:

North America – Kaya Dorey
Closed-loop apparel manufacturing hub

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

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 LLC:
Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion. 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, electrical and electronics, and medical industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 15,600 people at the end of 2016.

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Covestro LLC

Covestro LLC

Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business. Covestro manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical and sports and leisure industries. i3 (ignite, imagine, innovate) is Covestro LLC’s companywide corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative that aims to spark curiosity, to envision what could be and to help create it. Built on the three pillars of philanthropy (i3 Give), employee volunteerism (i3 Engage) and STEM education (i3 STEM), i3 seeks to create sustainable and lasting impacts.

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