Royalty & Philanthropy
Maxim|November - December 2021
How Prince Albert II of Monaco works miracles for the environment
By Louise Fauvelle

On the red-tiled roof of Villa Girasole rests a grid of black solar panels. The handsome cream-colored Belle Époque mansion is a short walk from Monte Carlo’s iconic casino, built-in 1879. The villa’s solar photovoltaic system aptly reflects the activities that take place inside. Since 2006, it has been the headquarters of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, started by the Sovereign that same year. Prince Albert, who took office in 2005, has pursued an ambitious path to ensure that the Principality of Monaco, situated on the French Riviera, is at the forefront of sustainable development.

For the past 15 years, the Foundation has aimed to promote environmental protection, sustainable development, renewable energy and biodiversity around the world. In addition, the organization has over the years opened ten representative offices in Europe, the USA, Singapore, and most recently in Beijing, China. “Our business is very international,” Olivier Wenden, the Foundation’s vice president, and CEO tells us. “We are a young team and everyone is devoted to what we do, many thanks to the fact that the Prince is so personally committed and largely involved in the daily work.”

Since the beginning, the Foundation’s area of focus has been the polar regions, developing countries, and the ocean. The lion’s share of the money—last year just over three million euros—goes to projects in marine biodiversity. The reason, according to Wenden, is that there has been a great need there. “When we started in 2006, the ocean was not a priority area when discussing the climate crisis on a global level,” he says. “We have played a role in putting the ocean on the agenda.”

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