Lifetime of Achievement: King Charles III

The King of England, King Charles III, has dedicated much of his life to advocating sustainable change and fighting against global warming – we explore how

His Majesty King Charles III has dedicated much of his life’s work to champion the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, emerging as an influential figure for not only those in the UK, but across the globe, too. 

Becoming a ‘green activist’ and creating the COPs

His love for the environment sparked at the young age of 20 – in 1968. The then-young prince shared his first speech on the environment, seven years before geoscientist Wallace Broecker coined the phrase ‘global warming’. 

Yet, His Majesty continued to share his concerns about the environment and two years later, when he was 22, he chaired a meeting of The Countryside at the Committee for Wales, at Bangor University, Wales. Through this meeting, His Majesty introduced the Countryside Award Scheme, which later became known as The Prince of Wales Countryside Award. While announcing the award, he said: “The idea is that it will be presented to both voluntary and statutory organisations which have promoted projects that are a distinctive contribution towards improving the general quality and beauty of the environment in Wales.”

This passion continued into the 70s and 80s when he called for a balanced approach to living while pioneering many sustainable ventures, such as advocating organic farming and becoming a patron of The Campaign for Wool.

Over two decades later, in 1992 when the world was finally ready for His Majesty's ideas, he hosted a conference on the Royal Yacht Britannia, in the Amazon River delta. This vital event pathed the way for the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which later became the birthplace of the “conference of the parties”, better known as the COPs. 

Since, His Majesty has become a regular attendee of the COP events, still trying to warn the rest of the world of the damaging effects of climate change. In fact, during the United Nations sustainability conference Rio+20, based in Brazil, His Majesty warned: “Like a sleepwalker, we seem unable to wake up to the fact that so many of the catastrophic consequences of carrying on with business-as-usual are bearing down on us faster than we think, already dragging many millions more people into poverty and dangerously weakening global food, water and energy security for the future.”

His Majesty’s work with The Sustainable Markets Initiative

In 2020, when His Majesty was the Prince of Wales, he attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos to launch The Sustainable Markets Initiative.

Now, The Sustainable Markets Initiative is the ‘go-to’ global private sector organisation on sustainable transition, which works to unite top organisations from industries, financial services, and governments to accelerate achieving a sustainable and prosperous future. 

The Terra Carta, the guiding mission of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, is dedicated to accelerating the achievement of global climate, biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goal targets. Launched in 2021 at the One Planet Summit, The Terra Carta puts nature, planet and people at the centre of global value creation, to achieve ambitious goals by 2030. 

“I remember years ago, in the ’60s, when I was a teenager, minding so much about all the things that were going on, the destruction of everything. The uprooting of trees and hedgerows and draining of wet places… this sort of white heat of progress and technology, to the exclusion of nature… this complete determination, somehow, to defeat nature.”

“The 'Terra Carta' offers the basis of a recovery plan that puts Nature, People and Planet at the heart of global value creation – one that will harness the precious, irreplaceable power of Nature combined with the transformative innovation and resources of the private sector,” His Majesty said. 

Since its inception, over 500 CEOs, countries, cities and organisations have pledged support for the Terra Carta and 66 global companies have been awarded Terra Carta Seal – an achievement that recognises global companies actively leading the charge to create a climate and nature-positive future.

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