The Renaissance Awards in Florence issue a rallying cry to back young leaders from all over the world enacting global change

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FLORENCE, Italy, Oct. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Rupert Everett, Minnie Mills, Doina Ciobanu, Sophia Li, and Itziar Ituño gathered at Palazzo Portinari Salviati together with Livia Firth and Innkeeper Nelson Chang, to pay tribute to the outstanding young social and environmental innovators building a world that is socially just, economically inclusive, environmentally friendly and technologically balanced.

Rupert Everett and Livia Firth at Palazzo Portinari Salviati in Florence to celebrate the Renaissance Awards 2022

The Renaissance Awards were established in 2021 by Eco-Age, in recognition of the urgent need to support, amplify and accelerate the work of young leaders at the forefront of a paradigm shift in environmental and social justice and inclusion.

“We hope that the restoration of Palazzo Portinari Salviati will give back to Florence, not just a beautiful palace or luxury hotel, but also a place that enlightens our spirits and minds as it has once been in the Renaissance era. Hosting the Renaissance Awards and its possibilists at Palazzo Portinari Salviati, connects history with the most meaningful future for mankind. We hope that looking back a hundred years from now, this Palazzo, this movement, and this alliance will be “our place in History,” says Nelson Chang, Inkeeper and CEO of LDC Hotels and Resorts Group, part of Palazzo Portinari Salviati.

“To choose Florence, the cradle of the early Renaissance, is of course heavy with symbolism. What our awards do is hand the microphone to young activists in a substantive and real way. This is the age of the purposeful, expert, global influencer. They are our ‘Possibilists’ and the driving force behind empowerment,” said Livia Firth, awards co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age.

Among the honourees are youth organisers, inventors, educators, leaders in environmental restoration, and innovators in law, justice, materials science and disability rights. “If societies were to invest fully into the people who are going to be driving this planet and to accelerate the scaling up of the mechanisms, products and policies that they have developed, we would begin hitting global SDGs and net zero targets rather than just talking about them” says Livia Firth, “this is why the theme is ‘possibilists’ – they don’t just talk, they do. Our awards exist to make sure they encounter opportunities not barriers”.

As in the inaugural Renaissance Awards, the ‘award’ itself will be an NFT award donated to the winners by strategic partner method, a leading household brand that has been a pioneer in the home cleaning and personal care with its future-friendly products, and who is on a mission to make positive change joyful and irresistible. The NFTs will feature Renaissance artwork from the Palazzo Portinari Salviati, including a painting of Marco Curzio and the four seasons. In addition, method will debut a new award called the method Renaissance Changemaker Award which honors an individual that is driving change through sustainable design.

This year the awards run concurrently with The Possibilists Summit, hosted by Cassa Risparmio di Firenze Foundation and moderated by globally renowned NGO ChangemakerXchange, during which all the young leaders, together for the first time, will bring solutions to some of the world’s most critical issues.

Nick McGirl, Co-Founder of ChangemakerXchange says, “Young changemakers are creating positive change everywhere you look and are tackling the most pressing issues of our time, but they need more support! 

“We are honoured to be a part of this year’s Renaissance Awards to connect and build the capacity of the awardees. The Renaissance Awards are an exciting addition to the global ecosystem of support for young leaders, shining a much-needed spotlight on their work and impact.”

We are very pleased to be able to welcome young leaders to Florence, in our Innovation Center” says the President of Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Foundation Luigi Salvadori. “They came together today to reflect on the most urgent issues of the moment. Our Foundation and the City of Florence are particularly sensitive to sustainability issues, so much so that this city, the capital of Tuscany, is among the nine Italian cities selected by the European Commission to develop projects on climate neutrality. I very much appreciate what Ms Firth is doing to raise awareness among young people on these issues which have accelerated dramatically with the pandemic and which have become even more urgent following the even more dramatic effects of climate change this Summer. We must team up and act quickly, our Foundation wants to be the protagonist of every initiative that moves conscience on these issues.”   

Livia Firth says, “The Renaissance Awards and the Summit show the power and unstoppable force of young leaders when they are supported. This is how we will realise the birth of a better system, regenerative, just, inclusive and balanced. Welcome to the new definition of the Renaissance.”

Press images to download here 


The 2022 Renaissance Awards honourees are:

  1. Lino Marrero (USA) Created a shoe insert that harnesses energy to charge cell phones – Technologically Balanced
  2. Lavinya Stennett (UK) Founder of the Black Curriculum to create better representation of Black History in the school curriculum – Socially Just
  3. Juan Francisco Barón (Argentina) Founder of NODO, which supports independent artists in the digital age – Socially Just 
  4. Sophia Kianni (USA/Iran) Founder of Climate Cardinals, which translates climate information into over 100 languages – Socially Just
  5. Nina Gualinga (Ecuador) Kichwa Indigenous Leader who leads in environmental activism – Environmentally Restorative (Represented by Alexis and Abigail Guilinga Nina Gualinga)
  6. Mary Lempres (USA) Artist, designer and researcher who has created solutions and products using discarded waste – method’s Renaissance Changemaker 
  7. Vee Kativhu (Zimbabwe/UK) – Education activist and founder of Empowered by Vee, a youth empowerment organisation
  8. Dion Hazel Muchaka (UK) – Care support worker who provide support to people with learning disabilities
  9. Matteo Ward (Italy) – Entrepreneur and sustainability activist

Together they join the following activists for the Possibilists Summit:


  1. Sophia Li (China/USA) – Multimedia journalist, film director, and environmental advocate
  2. Brett Staniland (UK) – Sustainable Fashion Creator, advocate and model
  3. Scott Staniland (UK) – Model, sustainable fashion contributor and ambassador
  4. Sennait Ghebreab (Italy/UK) – Lecturer at Istituto Marangoni London and Sustainability Mentor
  5. Fionn Ferreira (Ireland) – Scientist, anti-plastic pollution innovator and 2021 honouree, Technologically Balanced

The honourees of the Renaissance Awards 2021 are already taking their place at the forefront of systems change. Previous honourees have secured platforms as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, inspired a huge global audience (90% of last year’s audience said they took more purposeful action in their own lives) and accessed new partnership and funding opportunities.

Previous recipients of the Renaissance Awards are clear that the process has been transformative. ‘Today, despite the increasing visibility of independent Latin American artists, it’s still very rare to be granted an opportunity of telling our own stories without having to make concessions,’ says Igor Furtado, an ‘economically inclusive’ honouree of 2021, ‘having my work recognised [in this way] has been a transformative experience’



The Renaissance Awards celebrate the young leaders initiating the rebirth of a better system. A system that is regenerative, just, inclusive and balanced. In the heart of Florence, a city that is alive with the spirit of rebirth, we will honour and amplify the work of these emerging leaders, advancing their wisdom to the forefront of change.


Eco-Age is a specialist sustainability and communications agency. We are a leading and trusted voice, expert in bringing positive, sustainable change to key audiences.Our evidence-led sustainability narratives and programmes of change resonate with both consumers and industry insiders. Over the last decade we have honed specific expertise in supply-chains, textiles, impact measurement, internal and external communications, PR and event-planning. The programmes that we develop are aligned with international best practice and feed into global targets. This means the change that we help to activate is real and substantive.Our sole purpose is to distil our know-how, expertise, enthusiasm and talent into client campaigns, strategies and programmes that bring real and substantive change. Not only does this help to shift the dial on sustainable change, but it gives a new generation of conscious consumers fresh and compelling reasons to invest –emotionally and financially –in the brands of our partners.Our current partners include luxury fashion and jewellery brands, fashion retailers (including online), real estate companies, celebrity opinion-formers, film and TV academies, music academies, and fashion councils around the world.


method ( is the pioneer of design-driven home, fabric, and personal care products. From its inception, method has actively championed for diversity and sustainability, as well as applying design and creativity as powerful tools for change. In 2021, method launched “method for change”, a campaign inviting every single person into their mission of building a better, more fulfilled world by bridging intention and impact and putting change within reach of everyone.


Nelson Chang, CEO and Innkeeper of LDC Hotels and Resorts Group, which is part of Palazzo Portinari Salviati, the chairman of TCC Taiwan Cement Company, and the chairman of the Italian energy storage company NHOA (formerly Engie EPS), was awarded the title of Grande Ufficiale dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italy) last October by the Presidency of the Republic on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death for his commitment to Italy.

A scholar, lover of Italian history and passionate about Florence, which he considers the cradle of the Renaissance from which the Modern Age developed, Chang is Taiwan’s leading investor in Italy, with diversified interests in the tourism, property, energy and agricultural sectors and is also particularly active in promoting relations between Taiwan and Italy. The entrepreneur is also chairman of the board of directors of the Italian energy storage company NHOA (formerly Engie EPS). The company’s mission statement states that, as an energy company, it has the task of improving the environment and addressing the challenge of climate change.

“Your Place in History” is an invitation to stay in an iconic palace that is part and parcel of Florentine history and tradition: Palazzo Portinari Salviati, an exclusive historical house in Florence with luxury hotel services . Following meticulous restoration, the prestigious 15th century Renaissance home of Beatrice Portinari, Dante’s muse, and the first residence of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, is back in all its splendour.

Today the Palazzo houses elegant suites with frescoes from the 1700’s and luxurious apartments overlooking the heart of the city with breathtaking views of the Duomo and its majestic Brunelleschi dome.


Fondazione CR Firenze is a non-profit foundation of banking origin established in 1992 to further the interests of society. To achieve this, it has developed a programme of investments and projects in the areas it serves, namely Florence and the Metropolitan City along with the provinces of Grosseto and Arezzo.Picking up the baton from the original Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, the Fondazione operates by using the revenue from its vast assets to promote and fund programmes and initiatives of various kinds with the aim of furthering the economic development and prosperity of the community as a whole. The types of disbursement tools it uses include direct projects, themed calls for tender, funding for instrumental entities and it suppors numerous quality institutions.The five areas in which it operates are: culture and art, together with the conservation and optimisation of cultural assets; protection of the landscape, the environment and farming; scientific research and technological innovation, including in the medical and health sectors; youth training and growth; and volunteer work and solidarity.


Through the ChangemakerXchange Community we support, connect and empower 1000 young changemakers across 130 countries globally. New members join via our flagship summits, a unique experience of connecting, co-learning and collaboration with other social innovators from around the world. This is followed by ongoing, and life-long, community engagement, capacity building and support for their work.Through our Facilitators for Change program, building on our learnings from working with hundreds of social innovators we also trained over 150 civil society leaders in the facilitation skills needed to create spaces for collective impact.Through The Possibilists we work towards aligning the support ecosystem around a shared understanding of the needs and challenges of young changemakers and to create the best possible conditions for them to thrive and to deepen or scale their impact. Members of the alliance include Ashoka, ChangemakerXChange, One Young World, The Diana Award, We Are Family Foundation and Yunus & Youth.

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