Mohamed Adow, Nicole Rycroft receive US$3 million Climate Breakthrough Award

February 3, 2021, San Francisco, USA — Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Canopy in Vancouver, Canada, are the newest recipients of the Climate Breakthrough Award. The award is given to extraordinary strategists to afford them the time, space, and resources to develop and implement bold new strategies to confront and mitigate the growing climate crisis. Over the next three years, the awardees will each receive a US$3 million dollar grant and tailored support from the Climate Breakthrough Project to bring visionary new strategies from idea to fruition.

“The Climate Breakthrough Project finds exceptional leaders capable of pursuing strategies that would affect entire industries or countries and materially change the lives of millions of people. Mohamed and Nicole have the drive and the rare ability to make change at an immense scale,” said Climate Breakthrough Project Executive Director Savanna Ferguson. “It is truly an honour to support Mohamed and Nicole with their visionary work and help bring their breakthrough strategies to life.” 

Mohamed Adow is the Director and Founder of Power Shift Africa, a nongovernmental organization and think tank he founded in 2018 to mobilize climate action in Africa and shift climate and energy policies to zero carbon. Before founding Power Shift Africa, Mohamed spent a decade at the intersection of international development and climate as the Global Climate Policy Lead for Christian Aid. With the Climate Breakthrough Award, Mohamed plans to pursue a striking vision to center African leadership to guide the world toward more ambitious global climate policies. 

“It’s such a privilege to be chosen for the Climate Breakthrough Award. For a long time, Africa has been the victim of a climate crisis its people did almost nothing to cause. Now the continent is emerging as an example for the rest of the world as it starts to power its development using clean, renewable energy, rather than dirty fossil fuels. But this seismic shift in approach is far from guaranteed and requires African leadership to make it happen,” said Mohamed Adow. 

“I will use this award to help build a platform that brings together leading political and economic voices from the continent, along with experts and grassroots organizers, to ensure Africa fulfils its true potential as a progressive force for climate action. With Africa hosting the UN climate negotiations in 2022, there has never been a more crucial time to put the African voice at the heart of the global climate conversation,” added Adow.

Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy, has successfully engaged hundreds of the world’s leading fashion, publishing, and consumer brands to transform production chains, spur new game-changing innovations, and safeguard forests. Her work led to the final installment of the Harry Potter series being printed on eco-paper in more than 25 countries, and has shifted more than half of global viscose production out of endangered forests in just a few years.

Nicole plans to use her Climate Breakthrough award to catalyze investment in creating low-carbon, commercially viable fibre alternatives that will rapidly shift paper, packaging, and clothing production away from forests. 

I’m incredibly honoured to receive this award from Climate Breakthrough to address the challenges we face in this turn around decade for our planet,” said Nicole Rycroft. “No individual or single company can resolve the planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss by themselves. Whole supply chains need to shift, and fast. This award puts wind in our sails to forge Next Generation solutions to save forests and turn the tide on the climate crisis.”

Launched in 2016, the Climate Breakthrough Project has selected eleven outstanding awardees to date, hailing from Australia, China, Canada, Argentina, Vietnam, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Kenya. 

“Climate Breakthrough empowers visionary leaders around the world to solve the climate crisis,” said Savanna Ferguson. “We need breakthroughs. We need solutions at the scale of this problem in a timeframe that matters. Our awardees are bold; they take risks to imagine new possibilities, then try to bring them to life. The greater risk for the climate would be letting the chance for transformational change pass us by.”

For more information about the Climate Breakthrough Project, please visit



Dawn Bickett, Communications Lead, Climate Breakthrough Project,, +1 510 552 4984

Paul Omondi, Media and Communications Officer, Power Shift Africa,, +254 733995107

Laura Repas, Communications Specialist, Canopy,,
+1 416 729 7484