17 September 2013 ? Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement, is to receive the United Nations 2013 Champions of the Earth award. The prize ? the UN system?s highest environmental accolade ? is awarded to leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a significant and positive impact on the environment.

Petrini is recognized for his pioneering work over the past three decades to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the world?s agriculture and food supply ?one bite at a time?. Slow Food has over 100,000 members and supporters in over 150 countries, defending local food traditions, supporting biodiversity, tackling food waste, and promoting small-scale quality food products.

He joins an eclectic group of Champions of the Earth laureates, including Brazil?s Environment Minister, the developers of Google Earth, and a leading air pollution researcher, who will receive their awards at a special ceremony to be held in New York on 18 September 2013. Champions of the Earth is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Petrini founded the Slow Food movement almost 30 years ago with the aim of reducing biodiversity loss, and reviving artisanal, resource-efficient food production techniques, which were at risk of dying out.

The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity works in over 50 countries and involves over 10,000 small-scale food producers, promoting environmentally and culturally sustainable agriculture and fishing. It coordinates numerous projects in support of local communities, providing them with technical and financial assistance.

Petrini and his team also initiated the Ark of Taste project - a catalogue of well over 1000 forgotten or endangered food products from more than 75 countries.

Slow Food?s A Thousand Gardens in Africa project currently active in 25 African countries, to actively support African communities in fighting for freedom from hunger, the right to food and food security.

Slow Food?s Youth Network is actively involved in efforts to tackle food waste ? including the popular ?Disco Soup? events. In France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the USA among other locations, ?Disco Soup? volunteers come together to cook free meals using good quality fruits, vegetables and other ingredients leftover from markets, businesses or households. DJs provide the background music for the chopping, peeling, and slicing, before the food is distributed locally.

?I am touched and honored to receive the prestigious Champions of the Earth award,? said Carlo Petrini.

?This award shows that the path taken by Slow Food over the past 27 years has profoundly changed the concept of gastronomy, by clearly linking it to environmental consciousness and protection. The entire organization works each day to ensure the world has a good, clean and fair food supply. I dedicate this precious recognition to all of these people,?, he added.

Last year, UNEP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other parteners launched the Think.Eat.Save: Reduce Your Foodprint campaign to galvanize widespread global, regional and national actions to reduce food waste and food loss.

A new UN report released this month shows that the economic costs of food waste to global food producers amounts to US $750 billion per year. An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes ? or one third of all food produced ? is either wasted or lost annually.

More information on Think.Eat.Save: Reduce Your Foodprint is available at www.thinkeatsave.org
Other winners of the 2013 Champions of the Earth award include: Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment; Jack Dangermond, founder of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), and Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo from the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.

?While a green economy transition is underway, the challenge is to accelerate and scale-up this transformation. The Champions of the Earth play a vital role in this process,? said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

?They are inspirational leaders and visionaries who have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate the political will, fresh thinking and creative solutions crucial to creating and implementing successful environmental policies and initiatives across the globe,? he added.

?Whether improving the management of our natural resources, demonstrating new ways to tackle climate change and food waste, taking uncompromising business decisions based on sustainability models or raising awareness of emerging environmental challenges, Champions of the Earth should and do serve as an inspiration for transformative action across the world,? said Mr. Steiner.

A host of celebrity activists, including supermodel and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele B?ndchen, are set to attend the Champions of the Earth award ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History on 18 September. The event is sponsored by Guangdong Wealth.

About Champions of the Earth
Champions of the Earth, which was launched in 2005, is the UN's flagship environmental award. To date, it has recognized 59 individuals and organizations for their leadership, vision, inspiration and action on the environment. The list of previous Champions laureates include Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Chinese actress and environmental advocate Zhou Xun, the Women?s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO) and global music legend Ang?lique Kidjo. Visit http://www.unep.org/thechampions/ for more details.

About Guangdong Wealth
Guangdong Wealth Environmental Protection is a leading supplier of water purifying products and water treatment integrated solutions in China. The company practices a business model that puts social welfare before economic interests. Their development concept ?let the sky be bluer and the water clearer? supports UNEP?s goals of maintaining, if not improving, the health of our natural resources. The company invests in environmental scholarships for young university students, organizes clean-up operations and donates tonnes of purifying tablets to tackle pollution in rivers in Guangdong and Beijing.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Division of Communication and Public Information Acting Director and Spokesperson, Tel. +41 795 965 737 or +254 733 632 755, e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

Isabelle Valentiny, UNEP Regional Office for Europe, on Tel. + 41 79 251 82 36 or e-mail isabelle.valentiny@unep.org