London, England (CNN) -- Over 450 photographers originally entered the competition, but now that number is down to just 12 as organizers of the annual Prix Pictet photography competition announced their shortlist for the 2011 prize on Thursday.
The overall winner -- who will take home CHF100,000 ($102,000) -- will be announced in March next year.
The Prix Pictet is only three years old but has quickly established itself as one of the premier environmental photography prizes in the world, bringing together some of the most compelling images of sustainability -- or lack or it -- from around the world
The theme this year was "Growth" which organizers says presents "one of the great conundrums facing humanity in the early decades of the 21st century."
Photographers from four continents are represented on the shortlist covering a typically eclectic range of issues.
Burkina Faso-born Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo has examined the illegal trade in electronic waste in Accra, Ghana while Taryn Simon's portfolio titled "An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar" includes a white tiger in an Arkansas backyard and the Contraband Room at John F. Kennedy Airport, New York.
Meanwhile, respected Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has been nominated for his study of oil and its uses captured over a 12-year period.
The consequences of crop failure in Malawi are documented by Guy Tillim in his study "Petros Village," and visual studies of high rise living in Asia -- Yeondoo Jung's "Evergreen Tower" and Michael Wolf's "Architecture of Density" -- provide snapshots of "growth" and its consequences.
The submissions will be judged by a panel of eight judges chaired by David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the UK's University of Oxford.
"The jury was greatly impressed by the quality and variety of creative responses to the theme of Growth; it was a real challenge to arrive at the final names. Any one of these twelve artists would be a worthy winner," King said in a statement.
A preview of the shortlist can be seen at Galerie Filles du Calvaire, Paris, France until November 29 2010.