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The Earthshot Prize

Creating an independent future

We were approached to assist with the spin out of The Earthshot Prize as an independent entity from The Royal Foundation in Autumn 2021. Launched by The (then) Duke of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation in October 2020, The Earthshot Prize is the most ambitious and prestigious global environment prize in history designed to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next 10 years.

A multi-disciplinary team from across the firm led by our London Global Transactions practice helped to design the governance arrangements for, and incorporate, a new UK charity “The Earthshot Prize” and to execute the spin out which was completed in July 2022. Our team included colleagues from our London Corporate, IP, Tax, People & Reward and Real Estate teams and Corporate team in New York. Our work included preparing an agreement to document the transfer of people, funding contracts and other assets to the new charity and related matters.

One of the most complex features of this matter was how to formalise the ongoing relationship between The Royal Foundation and The Earthshot Prize, whilst ensuring The Earthshot Prize’s autonomy. In addition to the governance arrangements provided for in the new charity’s articles of association, the team advised on a new, ongoing relationship agreement between The Royal Foundation and The Earthshot Prize. The relationship agreement has been crafted so that it can evolve over time as the respective parties’ operations and involvement with each other changes over the years. This is designed to help both parties remain coordinated in the actions taken to achieve their charitable goals and maintain closely aligned processes and yet allow autonomy and flexibility.

Having acted on the spin out we continue to provide advice to The Earthshot Prize including on its contract arrangements for the 2022 Earthshot Prize ceremony in Boston as well as assisting with ongoing corporate queries relating to governance, board meetings and resolutions. We look forward to continuing to be a part of Earthshot’s journey.

Lauren Honeyben, Corporate Partner and relationship partner for The Earthshot Prize, said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for our lawyers at all levels of seniority and from different departments to work closely with The Royal Foundation and the Earthshot senior management team on The Earthshot Prize’s path to becoming an independent charity. We are excited to continue to support The Earthshot Prize and to see the work of the inspiring finalists hoping to improve our planet.”

Hannah Jones, The Earthshot Prize CEO, said: “We are grateful to the many Freshfields lawyers who have supported The Earthshot Prize from the start. The strong governance framework devised and executed by Freshfields has allowed us to focus on supporting exceptional environmental work across the world and we value our ongoing partnership with them as our trusted adviser for corporate governance, people and tax issues.”