Taking time out to commemorate those who safeguard the environment and assure human wellbeing, Rolex Awards for Enterprise is back for its latest edition. By Ralan Kithan
Ever since its launch in 1976, The Rolex Awards for Enterprise has been contributing towards safeguarding the environment and improving human wellbeing through various projects. For this, Rolex has been working hand-in-hand with laureates of the awards who have effectively carried out their noble mission. Through the programme, the timepiece manufacturers provide extraordinary people with funding for creative projects that advance knowledge of the world, safeguard the environment by helping save habitats and species, and enhance human welfare. Continuing with this tradition, the next awards are set to take place in 2023; the applications of which are now open to people across countries.
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise
The awards were established in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Oyster, the first waterproof timepiece ever made. Since the programme’s inception, 155 women and men have been awarded the title ‘Laureate’. They have made a remarkable influence and have collectively benefitted an estimated 17 million people. This includes planting 23 million trees; safeguarding 30 significant ecosystems, including 57,600 square kilometres of the Amazon rainforest and 43 endangered species ranging from snow leopards to seahorses. They have also discovered hundreds of new species.
To make this possible, Rolex has partnered with various organisations, including the National Geographic Society which works to study the impact of climate change.
Previously held in 2021, the 2021 Rolex Awards of Enterprise awarded incredible professionals from across the world. One such philanthropic name to find a spot on the list was Felix Brooks-church. Hailing from United States of America, Brooks-church has helped combat malnutrition in Tanzania by supplying local flour mills with a dosifier device that adds vital micronutrients to enhance staple foods. Some others on the list are: Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim from Chad, who has used traditional knowledge of the indigenous people to map the natural resources and avoid climatic conflicts in Sahel; Rinzin Phunjok Lama from Nepal who works with local communities to safeguard the incredibly diverse habitats of the Trans-Himalayan region, which is home to recognisable and internationally endangered species; Gina Moseley from the United Kingdom, who hopes to advance understanding of climate change in the Arctic by leading the first expedition to explore the planet’s farthest northern caves; and Luiz Rocha from Brazil who strives to explore, safeguard, and promote conservation of the mesophotic coral reefs and their biodiversity in the Indian Ocean.
Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2023
To select the laureates of the 2023 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Rolex has launched a worldwide quest on the lookout for five guardians of the future and visionaries with game-changing initiatives that will preserve the environment or advance humanity. Rolex is looking for creative projects in the following five fields: science and health, environment, applied technology, exploration, and cultural heritage. Submissions are currently open for anyone over the age of 18. In a first, candidates can also apply in simplified Chinese and Spanish, in addition to English. The five Laureates will be awarded the following year. Applications can be submitted through this link and will close on October 17, 2022.
The Perpetual Planet Initiative
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise are a part of the Swiss watchmaker’s Perpetual Planet initiative which supports individuals and groups in their efforts to understand and develop scientific solutions to the environmental problems of the modern day. The initiative supports individuals and organisations that are using science to understand the world’s environmental challenges and devising solutions that will restore balance to our ecosystems.
The founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, saw the world as a living laboratory. The company has worked with various explorers covering the depths of the world by venturing into the most extreme places. Rolex watches have enabled explorers in their adventures. Among the significant ones are the British Everest Expedition to Mount Everest in 1953, which led Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to become the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest.