Durham University start-up, Low Carbon Materials, has recently been announced as one of three international finalists in the Fix Our Climate category in the world’s most prestigious environmental prize, The Earthshot Prize 2022.
Durham alumni Natasha Boulding, Scott Bush and Phil Buckley graduated from their Chemistry PhD studies at St Mary’s College in 2019 with a passion for saving the planet and an idea formulated as part of a mini MBA innovation challenge run by Peter Allen at Durham University Business School.
With a vision to recycle plastic waste by converting it into aggregate for concrete, the trio has gone from strength to strength since their original idea took flight. Close engagement with workshops and start-up support services offered by Durham’s Venture Lab enabled the evolving company to win the Blueprint StartUp Challenge later in 2019. They then became the first postgraduate research student spin out through the Research England funded Northern Accelerator programme; securing pre-incorporation funding, participating in our Future Founders training and benefitting from our Executives into Business programme.
Today, Low Carbon Materials co-founders Natasha, Scott and Phil retain close links with Durham, returning to speak at Venture Lab events and judging student competitions.
The Earthshot Prize was founded with The Royal Foundation in 2020 by HRH Prince William. Designed to find and nurture solutions that will repair the planet in the next 10 years, it calls upon the collective power of human ingenuity and innovation.
Fifteen finalists have been announced today (4 November 2022). All are recognised as an accomplished group of entrepreneurs and innovators spearheading ground-breaking solutions to the biggest environmental challenges faced by planet Earth.
“The innovators, leaders, and visionaries that make up our 2022 Earthshot Finalists prove there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of our planet. They are directing their time, energy, and talent towards bold solutions with the power to not only solve our planet’s greatest environmental challenges, but to create healthier, more prosperous, and more sustainable communities for generations to come.
“I am so excited to celebrate these fifteen Finalists and see the five Winners of The Earthshot Prize announced in Boston – the hometown of President John F. Kennedy, who shared The Earthshot Prize’s belief that seemingly impossible goals are within reach if we only harness the limitless power of innovation, human ingenuity, and urgent optimism”.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be nominated and now to be through to the final stages in this competition. It is such an honour to be included alongside such pioneering organisations and individuals who are engaged in truly astounding environmental initiatives.
“To have our low-carbon, waste-based building material recognised as a formidable solution that can be scaled to reverse environmental damage and to better protect the environment is truly game-changing. This is real independent verification from the highest authority that our product has the potential to help fix our planet.”
As a finalist, Low Carbon Materials will receive tailored support and resources from The Earthshot Prize Global Alliance Members (an international network of private sector businesses committed to helping scale innovative climate and environmental solutions, multiplying their impact), as well as the chance to win a £1 million prize.
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, Daniel Alves Da Silva, Sir David Attenborough, Ernest Gibson, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Jack Ma, Shakira Mebarak, Yao Ming, Luisa Neubauer, Indra Nooyi, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Naoko Yamazaki.
The awards ceremony will take place on Friday 2 December 2022 at the MGM Music Hall in Boston. It will be broadcast globally on BBC in the UK and PBS in the United States. The show will also be available on YouTube. It will premiere on Sunday 4 December 2022.
Low Carbon Materials is a science-led company shaping the green construction sector with its lower carbon, new-age building material OSTO®.
OSTO is a carbon-negative lightweight aggregate for concrete produced out of waste and by-products. It is a game-changer for the construction industry, which currently makes up to 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (Chatham House, 2018). The product works by making traditional carbon-intensive blocks carbon-zero, thereby reducing their environmental impact.