Apply to the 2023 Ashden Awards

Entries now open

Applications close Wednesday 8 March

Are you a 2023 Ashden Award winner?

The annual Ashden Awards are free to enter, and benefits for winners include a cash grant, access to funders, and a promotional film about their work. All finalists receive publicity and opportunities as part of the Ashden network. Find out more about the Ashden Awards here.

This year, the Awards will help power up inclusive innovation creating a fairer low carbon world – tackling inequality and empowering communities on the frontline of the climate crisis through jobs, skills and training. Ashden winners come in all shapes and sizes. We don’t reward the biggest organisations or slickest marketing pitches – we’re looking for passion, potential and commitment to our values. We’ve put winners on stage at the COP climate talks and in global media.

Where could an Ashden Award take your organisation this year?

Key dates

applications open

18 January2023

Applications Close*

8 March 2023

Shortlist
announced

June2023

Finalists announced

September2023

Winners announced at award ceremony

Autumn2023

* This is the final deadline for all stages of application, including both initial Expression of Interest and second stage.

UK Awards

Ashden Award for Energy Innovation 

 

Ashden Award for Energy Innovation in the UK

Award prize: £10,000

Decarbonising the UK’s energy sector and other industries is essential to our shared zero carbon future. The Ashden Award for Energy Innovation will boost organisations ready to create major impact with a trailblazing technology, service or business model.  

The winning organisation’s energy innovation could be reducing emissions from manufacturing, lowering the carbon impact of heating our homes, or speeding the rollout of smart energy systems. 

The winner of our energy innovation award will need to demonstrate that their solution has the potential to scale up and deliver big carbon savings. And it should be creating a more equal low carbon future – by creating opportunities and benefits for marginalised groups. 

Find out more about this award

  Supported by:   

Ashden Award for Skills in Sustainable Land Management

Ashden Award for Skills in Sustainable Land Management

Award prize: £10,000

Smarter ways of managing land can help us grow food sustainably, boost ecosystem restoration and protect biodiversity. But this will only happen if people have the skills to put regenerative approaches into action. 

The Ashden Award for Skills in Sustainable Land Management will boost colleges, charities, businesses and others driving alternatives to extractive farming, waterways management and land use in the UK. Systems that restore ecosystems, instead of damaging them. The winner will need to show the impact of their work, both on learners and the climate.  

Changes to land use could deliver up to 30% of emissions reductions needed for the UK’s 2050 net zero target. Skills trailblazers can make this ambition a reality, while helping people access jobs and opportunities. 

Find out more about this award

Supported by:

Blue logo

Ashden Award for Community Nature Adaptation

Ashden Award for Community Nature Adaptation

Award prize: £10,000

Nature is a powerful tool helping us adapt to the impacts of climate change. Plants and trees can protect us from extreme heat, while natural drainage systems lower the risk from flooding. When communities help design and deliver solutions, there are even more benefits – as people come together, improve their health, and enjoy getting closer to nature. 

The Ashden Award for Community Nature Adaptation will boost innovative and inclusive schemes tackling the dangers of flooding, heat stress and water scarcity. These could feature tree planting, creating wetlands or restoring natural resources. They might involve local voluntary groups, national charities or councils and public bodies. The best examples will embrace the priorities and diversity of local communities. 

Find out more about this award

 

Supported by: 

International Awards

Ashden Award for Integrated Energy Africa

Ashden Award for Integrated Energy Africa

Award prize: £25,000

Africa is bursting with new and exciting clean energy innovation. But the continent faces a major challenge – connecting diverse systems to make sure clean energy is accessible and affordable for everyone. 

The Ashden Award for Integrated Energy Africa is open to energy companies, finance and technology providers, and other businesses creating integrated clean energy solutions in and around the continent’s towns and cities. Their work should bring together multiple energy services to power up transport, homes or enterprises, in harmony with wider national energy systems. 

Community involvement is key – the winning solution will be designed and delivered with input from people facing energy poverty, and bring change in areas of greatest need. 

Find out more about this award

 

Supported by: 

Ashden Award for Skills Powering Energy Access

Ashden Award for Skills Powering Energy Access

Award prize: £25,000

Clean energy can bring change across communities – including the creation of 25 million new jobs worldwide by the end of the decade. But marginalised and excluded groups, such as women, young people and those with little money, often lack the skills and opportunities to join the clean energy workforce. 

The Ashden Award for Skills Powering Energy Access will boost organisations bringing skills to marginalised people in low-income countries. The training could be in any part of the clean energy sector and could boost financial, technical, management and soft skills.  

As well as focusing on excluded groups, the winner will be pioneering an innovative approach and tackling the transition from training to paid employment.   

Find out more about this award

 

Supported by:

Blue logo  

Ashden Award for Energising Agriculture

Ashden Award for Energising Agriculture

Award prize: £25,000

Clean power could be game-changing for millions of small-scale farmers in low-income countries. Access to it can bring everything from solar-powered irrigation that boosts crop yields, to milling, processing and temperature control to help prevent food loss. But in villages most threatened by the climate crisis, reliable and affordable energy is limited or non-existent.  

The Ashden Award for Energising Agriculture will reward trailblazers helping off-grid communities grow, store and process their crops. We are looking for holistic solutions that are improving farmers’ lives and livelihoods, for example. by providing training, market connections and financing solutions. This award is open to entrepreneurs and innovators seeking agriculture funding for accessible solutions that raise incomes, improve nutrition and create resilience in the face of rising temperatures and extreme weather. 

Find out more about this award

Supported by:

Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions

Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions

Award prize: £25,000

Around the world, land stewards, indigenous peoples and local communities hold a unique power to protect and restore essential ecosystems. From forests to wetlands, these ecosystems are a key defence against climate change. Indigenous people safeguard 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity but face daily threats to their way of life. So when local people are threatened – or denied the chance to make a sustainable living – our climate is threatened too. 

The Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions will boost the work of Indigenous peoples and local communities in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia carrying out their vision of ecological restoration and the protection of their territories, as well as strengthening the incomes, wellbeing and security of their communities, enabling them to act as guardians and restorers of their lands.

The winner could be turning palm or soy plantation areas into sustainable productive land, helping communities restore degraded or desertified ecosystems, or supporting community agroforestry enterprises. The winner’s work will be centred on the needs, priorities and knowledge of indigenous people and local communities. 

Find out more about this award

 

Supported by

Ashden Award for Energising Refugees and Displaced People

Ashden Award for Energising Refugees and Displaced People

Award prize: £25,000

In refugee camps, 94% of people have no access to electricity. Whether they live in camps or elsewhere, energy poverty makes it harder for displaced people to make a living. 

This award will accelerate clean energy solutions helping displaced people raise their incomes – and so look forward to a more secure life and brighter future. The winning organisation will be chosen in partnership with the Global Refugee-led Network, drawing on the knowledge and priorities of displaced people themselves. 

This award will boost solutions delivered hand-in-hand with affected communities, and bringing change where it is needed most.  

Find out more about this award

Supported by:

 

FAQs

Eligibility for applying for an award

Businesses, NGOs, government organisations, and social enterprises (both for-profit and not-for-profit, including community groups) are all eligible. Each award is limited to work in certain parts of the world. See below for a list of countries eligible for each award. 

Energy Innovation: UK 

Skills in Sustainable Land Management: UK 

Community Nature Adaptation: UK 

Integrated Energy Africa: Africa 

Energising Agriculture: International (ODA recipients) 

Natural Climate Solutions: International (ODA recipients) 

Powering Refugees and Displaced People: International (ODA recipients) 

Skills Powering Energy Access: International (ODA recipients) 

To be shortlisted and win an award, all applicants must satisfy these eligibility criteria:  

  1. The work submitted for an award must be currently available to customers, clients or beneficiaries.
  2. The applicant must show an innovative approach in their work. 
  3. The applicant’s work must have the potential to create significant impact. This might be achieved by their growth as an organisation, or the replication of their innovation around the world. Applicants must be willing to work with Ashden and others to achieve this goal. ‘Significant’ impact could be a large reduction in emissions, a mitigation action that addresses a serious threat to people’s wellbeing, or a transformation in people’s quality of life – particularly the most marginalised.  
  4. The applicant must show good governance and management. We are looking for efficient use of funds and a strong plan to generate further income, whether from sales, grants or any other source. Organisations can be for profit or not-for-profit. Winners must have sustainability embedded in their values and practices.
Applying for an award

Applications made in English must be completed and submitted via our online application system. Start by registering your interest, using the link near the top of this page. We will review your registration of interest, and let you know whether you are invited to submit a full application form.

If you would like a preview of the application form, there is a copy here. Note that not all of the questions you see in this copy will appear when you complete the actual form online, as some are shown or hidden based on your answers to earlier questions. The copy of the form is for reference only – the form must becompleted online for your application to be considered

To apply in French, Spanish, Portuguese or Arabic, follow the relevant link below to download a form to register your interest. Send the completed form to apply@ashden.org

French

Spanish

Portuguese

Arabic

If you decide not to complete your application for any reason then you may withdraw by contacting us at apply@ashden.org

If you would like to discuss whether your work is relevant to the Ashden Awards, or have questions about the application process, please contact us on +44 (0) 207410 7023 orapply@ashden.org  

Applications for the 2023 Ashden Awards will close on Wednesday 8 March 2023, 23:59 GMT. Both the registration of interest AND the full application form need to be submitted by this date. So don’t leave your registration of interest to the last minute as you will have to complete the next stage by the deadline as well. 

  • 8 March 2023: Deadline for receipt of full application forms (which are in addition to registration of interest)
  • Early April 2023: A small group of applicants will be chosen for each award and asked for additional information, financial accounts and references. All other applicants will be told they have not been successful. 
  • Mid-April 2023: Deadline for receipt of additional information, financial accounts and references. 
  • May 2023: Judging panels meet to select two finalists of applicants for each award. All other applicants told they have not been successful. 
  • May and June 2023: Assessors visit the finalists. 
  • July 2023: Judging panels meet to select award winners and runners-up. All finalists are told of the outcome, although this must be kept confidential until Ashden Awards week. 
  • August to October 2023: Preparation of publicity material about all finalists. Detailed case studies written about winners’ work. Film crew visit award winners. 
  • Autumn 2023 : Ashden Awards week, when winners are publically announced for the first time. Date to be confirmed. 

See awards list above.

In 2023, we will be awarding work that fits into the themes listed above and meets the criteria listed in our FAQS. Please refer to these themes and criteria when considering your application as eligibility for the different awards is based on the type of work you are engaged in and the country where that work is carried out.

When completing your application, please indicate the specific theme/themes you feel are most relevant to your work. We will consider your application in themes other than the ones you have indicated if we feel they fit your work more closely. If you feel you work doesn’t fit into any of the themes listed below, please contact apply@ashden.org to discuss your eligibility.    

Yes – you can make more than one application, providing they are for different programmes or businesses, if you are involved with more than one. Please do not submit two applications for the same work. 

No – for all our Awards, the work submitted for the Award must be currently available to customers, clients or beneficiaries. The more evidence that you can present for the impact of your work, the better your chance of meeting the award criteria. 

There is no fee to apply for an award. All you will need to do is make time to complete the registration of interest and full application form before the deadline, and then answer any questions we might ask you after you have submitted your form.

If you are shortlisted, you will also need to set aside time for preparing and hosting a judging visit from Ashden assessors. If you win, you will need to set aside up to one week to take part in Awards Week events. The location and timing of these events is to be confirmed, but may be in London, UK during November 2023.

All information submitted may be seen by the Ashden team (including judges and assessors). All our judges and assessors are required to sign a confidentiality agreement before viewing any application materials.

We generally retain their application materials of applicants that do not win for up to three years. by those applicants during this period. However, this is optional – there is a question in the form which asks for permission to do this. If permission is not given and you wish to reapply within the next three years, you will need to fill the application form in again.

 

 

If your application covers different work to that covered in your earlier submission, then you need to fill the application forms in as normal. If you’re reapplying for the same work, then a ‘fast-track’ application may be possible, if the following conditions are met:

  • Your original application was less than three years ago
  • When you made the original application you gave us permissions to retain your application documents.

If you think you might be eligible for a fast-track application, please contact us at apply@ashden.org.

It is a condition of your entry to the 2023 Ashden Awards that Ashden has the right to publicise your involvement through its communications channels (including but not limited to its website, social media platforms and ceremony programme).  All shortlisted applicants, finalists and particularly winners may be required by Ashden to participate in publicity opportunities such as media interviews.

To maximise the impact of our Awards, we announce our shortlist, finalist and winners on. If you reach the shortlisting stage, or win an Ashden Award, we ask you not to publicise this fact until the date set by us. Our communications team will work closely with you on this.

Judging criteria and process 

Eligible applications will be judged against the following general criteria:

  1. Decarbonisation, material use reduction and environmental protection. Applicants in the UK will be contributing to real and rapid reductions in fossil fuel use, overall energy use and raw material consumption. Applicants in global south will be enabling people to achieve a decent standard of living while reducing fossil fuel use and raw material consumption over time. Applicants will also strive to protect or enhance the environment and follow the necessary environmental due diligence process when carrying out their work, including to ensure the sustainability of their supply chains.
  2. Resilience and adaptation. Applicants will be building community resilience against climate change impacts and economic shocks, through the creation of livelihoods and adaptation efforts to enable people to live and work more sustainably, while contributing to a just and inclusive transition.
  3. Boosting green skills and work. Applicants will be helping people make a decent, secure, dignified living, in line with the ILO definition. This may include enabling people to gain or improve skills that are useful in a future sustainable society and economy, supporting the creation of paid and voluntary work that contributes to a fair transition away from fossil fuels, or enabling people to have sustainable livelihoods. It should also include giving attention to the position of women, vulnerable or under-represented groups in the job market.
  4. Reducing inequality. Applicants will be working proactively to reduce inequality within their own organisation, and aiming to reduce inequality in local communities, nationally or globally, including through their supply chains.
  5. Participation and democratisation. Applicants will be promoting participation and democratisation, for example by involving local communities, customers, beneficiaries or employees/workers in decision-making, or by enabling shared ownership of their organisation or the equitable distribution of benefits.
  6. Communications potential. Applicants will have developed an innovative solution that will inspire others to replicate, invest in or enable the work to be scaled. The solution will also have the potential to be effectively communicated to a broad audience using words, film and images to tell powerful, people-centred stories of change and impact. Applicants will be able to identify staff, customers or beneficiaries who have a story to tell about the impact of the applicant’s work on people’s lives.

Details of the judging panel will be released on our website. The assessment teams include Ashden staff, representatives from funders and knowledge partners, and freelance specialists in specific sectors

If your organisation is shortlisted, we will get in touch in early April to ask for the following, to better understand your work and assure ourselves of your financial viability: 

  1. Answers to some additional questions about your work (via phone, video conference and/or email).
  2. A copy of your financial accounts for the past two years.
  3. A copy of your draft accounts for the current financial year.
  4. A short informal video summarising the work you do, why it deserves an Ashden Award, and how the award would benefit you.
  5. Contact details for two referees, who will be followed up if you are selected as a finalist.

If you are selected as a finalist, we will get in touch to arrange a visit to assess your work. For applicants based in the UK, the judging visit usually takes a whole day, and involves one or two people from Ashden and sometimes a representative from the funder of the award.  

For applicants with work based in other countries, the visit usually lasts one to three days, and involves one  assessor, who could be from the Ashden team or could be someone more local to your work who is a member of the Ashden network. We often also carry out interviews via Zoom in addition to a physical visit by an assessor.  

The visit will include meetings with key staff such as your chief executive, financial officer, the person in charge of the work submitted for an Award, and other employees. It will also include seeing the work submitted in operation, usually through site visits, and meeting customers or clients. Applicants that are chosen to be visited will be credited as runners-up if they do not become winners. We require you not to share news of your longlisting, shortlisting or award win until a certain date.  

Winning an award
  • A prize of £10,000 or £25,000 each, depending on which award you 
  • Prestige of winning one of the world’s top sustainability awards. The rigour of our assessment process is well known to investors, policymakers, academics and other experts in the sustainable energy and climate change sector around the world. 
  • Membership of an alumni network of Ashden Award winners, which facilitates learning and opportunities to create productive partnerships. 
  • Opportunities to present your work to large and influential audiences at the Ashden Awards Ceremony and other Ashden events. 
  • The chance to have your work profiled in regional, national, international and specialist media. Ashden’s communication team works to get winners exposure in newspapers and magazines, on television and radio, and on a wide range on online platforms. This continues long after the award ceremony – Ashden regularly secures coverage for winners months and even years after they win their award.  
  • Promotional material including photographs, print material and broadcast quality video for winners to use in their own marketing efforts.  
  • Where it can have a significant impact, tailored support from our programme team to grow or replicate your work: this can include professional mentoring, training, help raising finance and investment, and media and communications support. 
  • Where it can have significant impact, introductions to influential policy and decision makers, and an opportunity to make your voice heard. 
  • We also seek to integrate UK-based winners into our Sustainable Towns and Cities programme of work, where we embed our winners’ approaches into policy and practice. Our widely used resources for local authorities such as a climate action co-benefits toolkit, and our Learning Out Loud pages feature many of our alumni. We also regularly showcase our winners at our regional local authority learning workshops, and our network of city region sustainability lead officers.
  • Additionally, there is opportunity for our winners to participate in a programme of free masterclasses which help them to get to grips with a wide range of practical issues. This can be anything from customer experience, developing a communications strategy or getting investment ready.

As an Ashden Award winner, we ask you to: 

  1. Take part in the awards week events which are expected to take place in November 2023, location to be confirmed.  Winning an Ashden Award is contingent on taking part in the awards week activities.
  2. Receive a visit from our video producer and in some cases a photographer. 
  3. Participate in media interviews. 
  4. Agree with Ashden what you will spend the prize fund on and any business support you may receive. 
  5. Provide monitoring data about the progress of your work after one, two and three years. 
  6. Join our global alumni network of over 200 winners, a unique opportunity for learning and collaboration. 

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