The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke out in a new statement: "We know that we can all do better"
The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit One World Observatory
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are making a bold commitment to combat the climate crisis.

On Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced via their Archewell site that they will work to reach net zero carbon emissions by the end of this decade — the first time anyone in the royal family has made such a pledge.

"As global leaders convene for COP26 to commit to solutions for our climate crisis," began the statement on the site, referring to this week's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, "all of us at Archewell, led by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, share our pledge towards a more sustainable future by becoming net zero by 2030."

Noting Harry and Meghan's "long-standing commitment to the planet" and Archewell's prior "choices to offset and balance this carbon footprint," the statement continues that "now, with the tools provided by partner organizations, we know that we can all do better. We can be net zero, and this is what we pledge to do."

So what does reaching net zero carbon emissions mean?

As explained by Archewell, carbon is emitted with almost every human action, from "what we eat and how often we eat it" to "our reliance on big industries that contribute to the problem."

Harry and Meghan are committing to make different, more thoughtful every day choices geared at whittling down their carbon footprint as much as possible over time — and, since some carbon emissions are inevitable, investing in carbon removal projects to account for the balance. (For more information, the Sussexes recommend this site.)

For a prominent couple like the Sussexes, frequent global travel will naturally be one piece of the puzzle. But for anyone, rethinking day-to-day transportation or even something as simple as flipping off light switches (as Prince Charles taught Prince William and Harry to do when they were young boys) can add up toward an overall positive environmental impact.

Among the partners who will be informing Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, are the Duke's nonprofit organization Travalyst and the Ethic, the sustainable investing platform the couple recently partnered with "to focus our investments in support of a low-carbon economy."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speak onstage during Global Citizen Live, New York on September 25, 2021 in New York City.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
| Credit: John Lamparski/Getty

The Sussexes have been taking on a more vocal role for political and environmental advocacy since stepping back from royal duties in 2020, with Meghan recently penning an open letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to advocate for nationalized paid parental leave — a letter she said she wrote "on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry."

The couple also appeared at the recent trip to New York, they met with local and international political leaders and spoke about vaccine equity at Global Citizen Live.

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GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Alexandra Park Sports Hub on day two of COP26 on November 01, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. 2021 sees the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference which will run from 31 October for two weeks, finishing on 12 November. It was meant to take place in 2020 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Prince William and Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

Of course, an escalating push for environmental consciousness and innovative solution-seeking also aligns with recent moves by Harry's family.

Prince William and wife Kate Middleton and Prince William are currently in Glasgow alongside Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as the top royals make the rounds at COP26 to spur global leaders to action.

William in particular had a busy day on Tuesday, introducing the winners and finalists of his inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards to attendees at the summit.

"I hope our finalists have given you cause for optimism," he told the audience at an event on Tuesday afternoon. "They represent a growing wave of innovators, dedicating their time and talent to finding solutions to repair our planet. Today, I'm asking you to create the conditions in which they can thrive, and their ideas can scale."