Innovative climate solutions nominated for £1 million Earthshot prizes

As a thought leader in sustainability, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington is one of only three official nominators from Aotearoa New Zealand for the Earthshot Prize. We are proud to announce our nomination of Sea Forest Ltd, Humble Bee, and XFrame to be considered for one of five £1,000,000 ($1.9m NZD) 2023 Earthshot Prizes.

X-Frame creator Ged Finch, photo copyright Amber-Jayne Bain

The five prizes are awarded to projects that highlight human ingenuity, drive change, and inspire collective action. They are led by independent charity The Earthshot Prize, founded by Prince William. Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently joined their Board of Trustees.

Sea Forest Ltd―reducing methane with seaweed

Sea Forest Ltd produces SeaFeedTM, an effective Asparagopsis seaweed-based feed supplement that research has indicated reduces the amount of methane released by ruminant livestock, contributing to a reduction of overall CO2 agricultural emissions.

“Seaweed is a well-known climate solution, and Sea Forest have developed a commercially viable, and highly effective, opportunity to address agricultural emissions,” says Andrew Wilks, director of Sustainability at the University.

“Agriculture is desperately short of proven and viable climate solutions. As global consumption of meat and dairy products increases with population growth, agricultural emissions will be increasingly problematic. Sea Forest is based on strong science and has the potential to be a game changer for global agricultural practices.”

Humble Bee Bio―mimicking nature

Humble Bee Bio uses a recipe from the genes from an Australian solitary bee to help solve some of our toughest global challenges: plastic pollution and ‘forever chemicals’. The company’s vision is to use genetic recipes and precision fermentation to create novel biomaterials that can be used like plastic but which are safe to use, and biodegradable.

“Biotechnology is an immensely promising area of research from a sustainability standpoint. Humble Bee Bio is innovative and exciting, and its research breakthrough has the potential to not only create local production jobs, but reduce inequality caused by the impact of toxic plastic manufacture,” says Mr Wilks.

Director of the University’s Ferrier Research Institute, Professor Richard Furneaux, and Professor Phil Lester from the School of Biological Sciences have worked with Humble Bee Bio founder Veronica Harwood-Stevenson to research the promise of this product.

XFrame—circular architecture

Reusable building frame system XFrame is made from clip-together engineered wooden parts that can be assembled to create strong, self-braced, and load-bearing walls or frames of any size. The geometry of the components means less material is used in building, and their design allows prefabricated wall linings to be reversibly hung to the wall and removed without damaging the lining or wall frame.

“Having already launched in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, XFrame is leading the way in reduction of CO2 emissions within the building industry. As a construction system it is easy to assemble and reassemble, and they have the technology required to scale-up distribution worldwide, making it highly accessible,” says Mr Wilks.

XFrame was spun out by Ged Finch with support from the University’s commercialisation office, Wellington UniVentures, from his PhD research. He has assembled a passionate team, and they are hoping to expand significantly, allowing them to contribute to the goal of building a waste-free world.

Later this year, Earthshot Prize will be selecting the top 15 solutions as their 2023 finalists. Finalists are then connected with the Prize’s international Global Alliance and mentors, who will provide advice to help each finalist scale their solution. The five winners will then be selected by the Prize Council.

If you have a project you want to put forward next year for an Earthshot Prize, please contact to be notified when nominations open for 2024.