And the winner is…… the monk seal’s marine sanctuary

La Prairie, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, has established The La Prairie Award for Innovation in Marine Protection. It recognizes and will support grassroots projects aimed at resolving environmental issues. The winner has been announced at the Foundation’s gala annual award ceremonies, which was held in London on 12 October 2012.

The La Prairie Award for Innovation in Marine Protection, which carries a $100,000 donation, went to one of three initiatives which have been selected amongst the Foundation projects. The two runners-up received donations of $20,000 and $10,000. Beyond the monetary award, La Prairie will follow the projects closely, providing support in terms of exposure of their efforts.

watch the video



Our collaboration with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is a perfect fit,” says Patrick Rasquinet, President and CEO, La Prairie Group. “The Foundation’s objective to advance environmental solutions and promote the sustainability of the earth’s natural resources coincides with our own long-term commitment to marine preservation.





The winner and runners-up of the 2012 La Prairie Award for Innovation in Marine Protection has been chosen by the following international jury- presided by Céline Cousteau- together with La Prairie fans around the world via an on-line voting system.

Céline Cousteau, jury president, is the granddaughter of legendary underwater explorer and adventurer Jacques Cousteau and an accomplished “oceanaut” in her own right. Tirelessly dedicated to promoting eco-awareness, she founded CauseCentric Productions, a non-profit organization which creates short films for mass distribution via various media. The films communicate the stories of grassroots organizations and individuals working on issues related to humans and the environment. Céline is also a compelling public speaker on environmental issues and is worldwide ambassador for La Prairie’s Advanced Marine Biology Collection.


His Excellency Bernard Fautrier, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, has long been involved in numerous areas of environmental protection at the international level. He has chaired the Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediter-ranean and the Ramoge Agreement, an initiative undertaken by France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco to protect the marine and coastal environment. He also served as Minister for Public Works and Social Affairs in Monaco and was ambassador to Switzerland and the United Nations in Geneva.


Vanessa Berlowitz, a graduate of Oxford University and a resident of Bristol, England, joined the BBC Natural History Unit as a researcher in 1991. She went on to produce nearly 20 highly acclaimed and award-winning documentaries for a number of series, including “The Human Animal”, “Land of the Tiger” and “Life of Mammals” with Sir David Attenborough. More recently, she produced and directed “Planet Earth” and produced the series “The Frozen Planet”, again in collaboration with Sir Attenborough. In addition, she is a regular contributor to books and magazines and a frequent speaker on wildlife and conservation.


Alannah Weston began her career in journalism upon her graduation from Oxford University. She went on to become Creative Director of Windsor, a residential enclave in Florida, where she founded an art gallery for the community. Since May 2004, Alannah has been Creative Director at Selfridges, bringing the store to life through the window displays, collaborations with artists, and inspirational moments. Passionate about the environment, she recently spearheaded Project Ocean at Selfridges to raise awareness of the issue of overfishing. Alannah is also Chairman of the Reta Lila Howard Foundation, a UK based charitable foundation benefitting children.



The three finalists for The La Prairie Award for Innovation in Marine Protection were chosen amongst The Albert II of Monaco Foundation projects and represent an interesting variety of environmental challenges… and their proposed solutions.


A group of marine biologists are dedicating more than five years of their lives to ensuring the survival of the Mediterranean monk seal and removing it from the list of endangered species by establishing a sanctuary on one of the deserted Gyaros islands in Greece, home of the largest surviving seal colony. Much of the natural habitat of this symbolic species has been lost, due to excessive urbanization along the Mediterranean coast, with the result that its population has dwindled to an estimated 300 to 500.

The La Prairie Award would further the work of the sanctuary to help save these symbolic creatures.



The MV Kalabia plies the waters of the Indonesian Raja Ampat Archipelago, carrying a team of educators who teach children and young people how their actions can save what the legendary Captain Cook called a “paradise on earth”. These 1500 small islands and submerged reefs, with nearly 753 kilometers of sandy beaches, are located in the “coral triangle”, a region exceptionally rich in marine biodiversity with more than 70 percent of known coral species and 1,384 species of fish.

The La Prairie Award would enable the MV Kalabia, which has depleted its funding, to carry its message of environmental conservation to another 100 villages.



The Toliara reef complex of Madagascar, made up of coral barrier reefs, mangroves and lagoons, is a region of exceptional beauty and diversity. This valuable ecosystem, the world’s third largest coral reef complex, is under threat, not only from local fisherman who are forced to extract more and more natural resources, but also from climate change, which is raising havoc with both the reef and adjacent marshland. Local people, supported by WWF initiatives, have a plan to revitalize the area by establishing a marine park, which will help stimulate the introduction of improved fishing and collection practices.

The La Prairie Award would help them spur the recovery of the entire region.



Thanks for  your vote

and taking part in the final decision .




I am delighted to witness this once more today on the launch of these new awards, the result of a successful partnership between La Prairie and my Foundation.

In fact, I am more convinced than ever that this type of partnership is vital. At a time when we are facing global issues and inventing another growth model which is more respectful of nature, how could we divide companies and NGOs, scientists and citizens or politicians and field organisations?

Instead, we must move forward together. Because the real answers to the deterioration in our natural resources lie in sharing our knowledge, raising awareness and implementing innovative economic models.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco
Extract from the speech of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco during the Dîner de gala La Prairie(April 17).