How might we collaborate to preserve and restore biodiversity through solutions designed for agriculture, urban environments, and forests?

Life depends on biodiversity. Our air, water, and food rely on the variety of life found in ecosystems around the world. Because of human activity, however, one million plant and animal species are currently on verge of extinction. Humans have significantly altered 75% of the land-based environment.  

This year, the U.N. reported that “nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.” We are facing an existential threat.  

Yet it is not too late for change. We need to radically transform our relationship to our planet. As the environment rapidly declines, we need bold social innovators who are bringing people together to take on this extensive, complex, and urgent issue.  

How might we collaborate to preserve and restore biodiversity through solutions designed for agriculture, urban environments and forests?

We are looking for already-implemented solutions that engage people and organizations across sectors to preserve biodiversity. By building alliances and catalyzing collaboration between key players — such as citizens, the scientific community, companies and/or governments —we can scale innovations to address the enormous environmental challenge we face.  

VITTEL® and Ashoka are launching the "Act for Biodiversity" Challenge — a global search for changemakers who can bring key players together to preserve and restore biodiversity. 

Understanding the importance of biodiversity for preserving water quality, VITTEL® has been working for the last 30 years to preserve nature in the city of Vittel and surrounding Vosges area, in France. In partnership with INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research), VITTEL® teams have engaged local stakeholders — including farmers, industries, policymakers, scientists, tourism agencies, and citizens — to put in place a zero-pesticides policy to protect the watershed, preserving the local ecosystem, leading reforestation efforts, preserving and restoring habitats of endangered species (to learn more, read our FAQ). Now VITTEL® is furthering its commitment by supporting social innovators worldwide who are teaming up to preserve biodiversity in their local ecosystems. 

Because biodiversity is a broad topic, we are narrowing our scope according to the 3 criteria below. We are seeking implemented innovations that:   

1. Use a systemic approach. If a project focuses on preserving a single species, it must address why preserving that species contributes to the overall health of its respective ecosystem and other species.   

2. Value collaborating with other key players. Preserving biodiversity requires solutions that integrate expertise and participation from stakeholders like farmers, scientists, policymakers, and the public. We are looking for innovators who have either built collaboration into their solution already or want to bring other players on board in the future.  

3. Align with one of the following FOCUS AREAS:   

A) Address the impacts of urbanization. Urban areas are now home to the majority of our planet’s population. We often overlook the variety of life found in cities — urban green spaces host native and non-native species critical to the earth’s health and human wellbeing. We're seeking solutions that strengthen biodiversity in the urban environment, such as strategies to implement green infrastructure or engage city residents in creative conservation efforts.  

B) Innovate agricultural systems. Agriculture is the largest contributor to the loss of biodiversity. Common agricultural practices — such as unsustainable monocultures, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and inefficient irrigation — hurt the vital ecosystem services, such as pollination, biological pest control, healthy soils and watersheds, that are essential to sustaining life. We're seeking solutions that are changing this narrative.  

C) Nurture and preserve forests. As the most diverse ecosystems on land, forests are not only home to trees and plants, but most of the world’s terrestrial species. Every year, we lose over 18 million hectares of forest, which is threatened by deforestation, degradation, hunting, and invasive species. We’re seeking solutions that protect and nurture the rich biodiversity found in forests.  


We're interested in all kinds of solutions to preserve biodiversity— from scientific innovations to community initiatives— as long as they fulfill the eligibility criteria and fit within the Challenge scope.   

For reference, check out these real-world examples:  

  • A scientific solution that boosts biodiversity by sustainably managing and monitoring bee populations, using this data to inform stakeholders like farmers, companies, and governments and to help local ecosystems thrive.  
  • An organization that connects young people in rapidly urbanizing areas with nature, educating students and communities and training them to care for urban nature reserves.  
  • A citizen association of professional women foresters who combine vegetable gardens and wild tree nurseries to protect biodiversity, reduce desertification, and ensure better health and nutrition for their communities. 

Entrants must:  

  • Be 18 years old or older by the time they apply 
  • Apply with a project that is already implemented beyond the idea stage (must have implemented at least a pilot) and thus be able to present at least initial evidence of impact  
  • Have incorporated as a nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or have a fiscal sponsor 
  • Be fluent in English and/or French (winners will be expected to engage in activities that require English or French proficiency)  

Additional terms  

  • Only one application per initiative will be accepted.  
  • Entries will only be accepted in English or French.   
  • Employees of VITTEL®, Nestlé S.A. and their parent companies, affiliates and subsidiaries, joint ventures, advertising agencies, promotion agencies and other service providers for this Challenge, their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, regardless of where they reside) and those living in the same household are not eligible.  
  • Partners or initiatives that are already financed or supported by VITTEL® or Nestlé S.A., its affiliates, subsidiaries or joint ventures are not eligible. 

IMPACT.  Leading initiatives will demonstrate how they are making a positive social and/or environmental impact for biodiversity preservation in at least 1 of the 3 focus areas of the challenge (see the "SCOPE" section above for more details). Competitive applicants will be able to provide qualitative and quantitative metrics used to track progress. Initiatives should also describe the innovation’s potential impact on the future and how they are addressing the root cause of the problem.   


INNOVATION.  Leading initiatives will have an original approach, which might involve inventing something new or applying existing approaches in new ways or to a new context. We are particularly interested in models that use fresh approaches to spark mindset shifts that lead to widespread change.  

FINANCIAL & OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY.  Applicants must have realistic plans for how to continue creating impact in the long-term through mobilizing resources such as funding, financing, teams, partnerships, or support networks. Entries should describe not only how they currently finance their work, but also how they plan to finance it in the future.  

ACTIVATING CHANGEMAKERS.  The initiative's strategy should include an approach that empowers and multiplies changemakers through inspiring stories, mobilizing and sharing resources or other approach that leads to an increased number of changemakers in the world.  


GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL.  Leading initiatives should be feasible on a broad-scale basis and/or replicable for other social, cultural or geographical settings. They must show leadership and team-player skills to influence the field in which they work, and at the same time, empower citizens as changemakers and involve stakeholders as key actors who can contribute to achieving their initiative and positive change. 

All eligible entrants will    

  • Receive feedback from Ashoka & VITTEL® & Nestlé S.A. networks 
  • Become known internally at the Ashoka & VITTEL® & Nestlé S.A. networks  
  • Be invited to participate in the peer review process  
  • Be considered as potential candidates for Accelerator and Co-Creation opportunities with VITTEL®, Nestlé S.A. & Ashoka 
  • Be considered for features in VITTEL®'s public communications campaigns (upon authorization from entrant), and therefore benefit from large communication and distribution outreach.  

Semifinalists (up to 50) will 

  • Have an opportunity to refine their entry and incorporate feedback received in the screening phase 
  • Receive additional feedback from experts from Ashoka & VITTEL® & Nestlé S.A. 
  • Be invited to participate at online calls for semifinalists to connect with each other

Finalists (up to 15) will 

  • Have online networking opportunities with Ashoka & VITTEL®& Nestlé S.A.  
  • Be referenced on VITTEL®'s website at the finalists announcement    
  • Be reviewed also by a pool of VITTEL® employees and stakeholders, who will vote to choose their favorites. (Voting results will award additional 9k euros to the favorite project).  

Winners (up to 4)  

  • All winners will receive a cash prize (a total of 150K€ will be distributed among the winners);    
  • All winners will be featured on VITTEL® PR coverage about Challenge results;   
  • 2 winners will be invited to participate in an Accelerator for Collective Impact with VITTEL®, Nestlé S.A. & Ashoka. 

  • Entry period - December 12, 2019 – March 10, 2020  
  • Early entry deadline - January 18, 2020, 23:59 CET  
  • Final Entry deadline - March 10, 2020, 23:59 CET  
  • Screening  & Peer Review - March 11 - April 1 
  • Refining - April 8 – April 17, 12:00pm CET (noon), 2020    
  • Shortlisting  - April 17 – April 27, 2020 
  • Finalists Announcement - April 30, 2020 
  • Winners announcement - late June 2020 (specific days to be confirmed) 



Once the Entry is published by an Applicant, the Entry will be publicly visible on the Act for Biodiversity Challenge platform. Nestlé expressly reserves the right to share the Entry with any third party that needs to be involved for the purpose of any activity related to the Act for Biodiversity Challenge.

Upon prior request, individuals or organizations’ submitting Entries can claim for their file and data to be deleted.


Nestlé S.A. (“Nestlé”) will grant the Act for Biodiversity Challenge Winner(s) an investment of up to 150,000 Euros as a prize. The Act for Biodiversity Challenge Jury may decide to award the winners’ prize funds to more than one Winner, but to a maximum of four (4) Winners.

The value of each Act for Biodiversity Challenge prize for each Winner will then

depend on its various merits and needs and will be determined at the sole discretion of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge Jury. The aggregate value of the prizes for all Winners will not exceed 150,000 Euros.

The receipt of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge prizes may be subject to different taxes, such as income tax, social security, and indirect taxes, depending on the Winner’s country of tax residence and the country where the programme is implemented. It is the Winner’s responsibility to comply with all applicable laws, including tax laws. In this respect, the Act for Biodiversity Challenge is granted as gross amount, and any applicable tax will be due and payable by the Winner, except if the applicable law explicitly provides for the liability of the donor. The Act for Biodiversity Challenge will be awarded in Euros. All costs associated with currency exchange are the sole responsibility of the Winner.


The Challenge Winner(s) agree(s) upon receipt of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge prize to use the funds exclusively to support the furtherance of the winning Entry and the purpose of the initiative as outlined in the Entry only.

Following the awarding of the Prize, Nestlé reserves the right to review documentation of the disbursements of the money paid to the winning Entry(ies).

Winners agree to regular and appropriate monitoring and evaluations by Nestlé, as well as to provide progress reports as may be required by Nestlé.


Prizes are awarded without warranty of any kind from Nestlé or any of its affiliated companies, express or implied, without limitation, except where this would be contrary to federal, state, provincial, or local laws or regulations. Submission of Entry for this Act for Biodiversity Challenge requires that Applicants agree to be bound by the terms of these Challenge Terms and Rules and by the decisions of Nestlé, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this Act for Biodiversity Challenge. Any Finalist Applicant who is not available to attend the Final Challenge Event in person, will be disqualified and alternative Applicant(s) will be invited from the Semifinalists group.

Ownership of and all intellectual and industrial property rights in and to the application shall remain with the Applicant.

To the extent permitted by law, entrants agree to hold Nestlé, its subsidiaries, agents, directors, officers, employees, representatives and assigns harmless from any injury or damage caused or claimed to be caused by participation in the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and/or use or acceptance of any Act for Biodiversity Challenge prize awarded, except to the extent that any death or personal injury is caused by the negligence of Nestlé. Nestlé is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, in the administration of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge or in the announcement of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge. An Applicant may be prohibited from participating in this Act for Biodiversity Challenge if, in Nestlé's sole discretion, it reasonably believes that the Applicant has attempted to undermine the legitimate operation of this Act for Biodiversity Challenge by cheating, deception, or other unfair practices or annoys, abuses, threatens or harasses any other Applicants, Nestlé or associated agencies.

Applicants certify and warrant that their Entry is original and that they are the sole and exclusive owner and right holder of the submitted Entry and/or that they have the right to submit the Entry for the Act for Biodiversity Challenge. Each Applicant agrees not to submit any Entry that (1) infringes any 3rd party proprietary, intellectual property, industrial property, personal rights or other rights, including without limitation, copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or confidentiality obligation; or (2) otherwise violates applicable law in any countries in the world. To the maximum extent permitted by law, each Applicant indemnifies and agrees to hold Nestlé, its subsidiaries, agents, directors, officers, employees, representatives and assigns harmless at all times from and against any liability, claims, demands, losses, damages, costs and expenses resulting from any act, default or omission of the Applicant and/or a breach of any warranty set forth herein. To the maximum extent permitted by law, each Applicant indemnifies and agrees to hold Nestlé, its subsidiaries, agents, directors, officers, employees, representatives and assigns harmless at all times from and against any liability, actions, claims, demands, losses, damages, costs and expenses for or in respect of which Nestlé will or may become liable by reason of or related or incidental to any act, default or omission by an Applicant under these Challenge Terms and Rules including without limitation resulting from or in relation to any breach, non-observance, act or omission whether negligent or otherwise, pursuant to these official rules by an Applicant.


Nestlé shall seek written prior approval of all communication using the finalists’ intellectual property rights. Such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed. By granting their approval, the finalists grant Nestlé and its affiliated companies the perpetual and free- of charge right and license to use their name, the name of the innovation and related intellectual property rights for communication in connection with the Act for Biodiversity Challenge.

Nothing in these Challenge Terms and Rules shall be considered or is intended to confer or transfer to either Party any ownership right or interest in any intellectual property right (such as trademark, design, symbol, etc.) of the other Party.



The Challenge Terms and Rules are subject to change; any change will be published on The Terms and Rules and administration of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge will be governed by the laws of Switzerland and the relevant court of Canton de Vaud, Switzerland shall have jurisdiction.

NO RECOURSE TO JUDICIAL OR OTHER PROCEDURES: To the extent permitted by law,

the rights to litigate, to seek injunctive relief or to make any other recourse to judicial or any other procedure in regard to the judgment of the Judges Panel for the Act for Biodiversity Challenge are hereby excluded, and any Applicant expressly waives any and all such rights.


We hope that you and your communities are staying healthy and safe during this uncertain time.  

After assessing the situation with COVID-19 and its global impact, VITTEL®'s and Ashoka have decided to adjust the Act for Biodiversity Challenge selection process. 

We understand this is a difficult time, as COVID-19 has disrupted lives around the world in countless ways. Therefore, we are extending the challenge selection process and adapting the format towards online engagement opportunities. Please scroll to the bottom of the challenge page to view the new timeline. We will share details about the new format for finalists' online engagement soon via email and on this Challenge page. 

During this time of crisis, we have been deeply inspired by social innovators around the world who shared their solutions for preserving biodiversity. We’re excited to support these efforts. 

We will continue to keep participants posted via email whenever there are updates. Email us at in case you have any additional questions. 

Many thanks for your understanding, 

-The Act for Biodiversity Challenge team

Do you want to get involved in this challenge?

We follow a process with phases. Currently we are in the Winners' Announcement phase. We have selected and announced the best ideas for this challenge.
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