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Newsletter Stories

Wednesday, 17 October 2018
Launching an XPRIZE for Forests

October 17, 2018

Promoting innovation and achievement through prize contests has existed for centuries. From the inception of the Longitude prize in 1714 to the Orteig prize that compelled Charles Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic, prizes have ignited passions and brought about breakthroughs that no one thought possible.

XPRIZE is today’s modern spin on this idea. Since 1994, XPRIZE has designed and launched seventeen prizes in the domain areas of Space, Oceans, Learning, Health, Energy, Environment, Transportation, Safety and Robotics. The first XPRIZE, a $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private space flight, spurred an industry and helped foster key breakthroughs. Since then XPRIZE has awarded over $140 million in prize purses, including the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XPRIZE. Each of these prizes has helped to create an industry-changing technology that contributes to a better, safer, more sustainable world.

And now, with support from Kimberly-Clark, XPRIZE is creating a prize contest for forests!

In early October, representatives of FSC Canada, FSC International, and FSC US joined a host of forest experts in Crested Butte, Colorado for a workshop hosted by XPRIZE to identify “moonshot” breakthroughs with the potential to transform the future of forests and lead to more sustainable growth and prosperity. The gathering included representatives of a broad spectrum of disciplines – NGOs, small businesses, firefighters – even a science fiction novelist.

Next steps include the development of an XPRIZE “impact map,” which will help advance one or more highest-potential XPRIZE forest challenges to spur specific crucial breakthroughs. Opportunities include ways to improve illegal wood detection and law enforcement, creation of an effective global market for forest ecosystem services, and several others.

FSC will continue its involvement in hopes this XPRIZE will lead to dramatic innovations that advance our mission. We will be sure to keep readers posted as the prize development process continues – stay tuned!