The Ashden Awards

Entries are now closed

Submission for the 2023 Awards will open in January

 

What are the Ashden Awards?

The Ashden Awards accelerate climate innovation, helping businesses, charities, governments and others power up their impact in the UK and low-income nations. We back organisations that advance social justice while lowering emissions 

Winners and finalists enjoy grants, publicity and priceless new connections – as well as endorsement from globally-recognised climate experts. 

Applications for the 2022 Ashden Awards are now closed.

UK Awards

Ashden Award for Energy Innovation 

Ashden Award for Energy Innovation in the UK

Award prize: £10,000

Applications closed

The UK’s industries and energy sector must radically lower their emissions in order to meet the country’s carbon targets. Action by governments and citizens alone is not enough to see off the climate crisis. High-impact innovation can lower emissions but also drive wider social change – particularly by creating a fair and sustainable green economy with rewarding jobs for all.    

This award will seek out innovation in sustainable energy generation, improved energy efficiency, or reducing the energy used to make products and materials. It will highlight organisations that are creating new and better jobs in green industries or enabling the decarbonisation of existing carbon-intensive industries such as construction. The award will focus on companies and organisations set to deliver or spark significant impact by 2030. 

  Supported by:   

Ashden Award for Low Carbon Skills

Ashden Award for Low Carbon Skills

Award prize: £10,000

Applications closed

Innovation in skills and training is urgently needed to power up the sectors pioneering the UK’s low carbon journey. The government has declared an ambition to support 440,000 jobs across net zero industries by 2030, and the promise of new and better work can help unite society behind climate action. 

But creating these jobs demands new ways of training and re-training the UK workforce. This award will focus on organisations building skills in three key areas: making homes more energy efficient, restoring nature, and fostering reuse, recycling and repair across society. 

It will look particularly closely at work boosting the skills and resources of disadvantaged people and communities, helping to create a fairer and more inclusive economy as well as reduced emissions.      

Supported by:

Blue logo

Ashden Award for Greening All Work 

Ashden Award for Greening All Work

Award prize: £10,000

Applications closed

By greening what they do and how they do it, all UK businesses, charities and public sector organisations can help create a sustainable society. Beyond lowering emissions, the benefits of taking action include lower overheads, happier staff and greater support from local communities.  

This award will seek out organisations, particularly small or medium-sized enterprises, helping employees develop skills for zero carbon work. These could include sustainable design, lifecycle analysis and energy efficiency, or broader skills such as resilience and the ability to work flexibly. The award will also consider work greening supply chains and encouraging suppliers to cut carbon. 

Alongside this, applicants might be reducing the carbon intensity of the services or products they offer, redesigning their business model to remove high-carbon practices, or changing the workplace culture to make carbon reduction and sustainability an integral part of doing business. The award will also look for activity that is greening jobs for marginalised groups, communities and regions.  

Supported by: 

International Awards

Ashden Award for Energising Refugee Livelihoods 

Ashden Award for Energising Refugee Livelihoods

Award prize: £25,000

Applications closed

Refugees and displaced people face a battle to access clean energy, and the safety and dignity it brings. About 80% of people living in refugee camps are thought to have minimal access to clean fuels for cooking and heating,and about 90% have no regular access to electricity.  

This badly damages their ability to earn a living. Activities like cooking, tailoring, phone-charging, and running small shops can all bring refugees and displaced people a vital income – but are hard or impossible without reliable and affordable energy.   

This challenge often affects refugees’ neighbours too. Countries that account for just 1.3% of global wealth host 40% of all refugees – often in communities and regions with little or no energy access. 

Entrants for this award could be creating economic opportunities for refugees through access to clean energy, or boosting skills and training in this area. The award will seek out innovation in systems, technologies and local partnerships that create powerful change for displaced people and host communities in low-income countries. 

Supported by: 

 

Ashden Award for Energy Access Skills

Ashden Award for Energy Access Skills

Award prize: £25,000

Applications closed

About 800 million people worldwide go without electricity, and three times that many cook on polluting stoves and fires. Investment in training is urgently needed to unlock universal access to clean, affordable energy.   

Universal energy access could create 4.5 million new jobs by 2030 in the off-grid renewables sector alone, with five times  as many jobs potentially created in communities receiving clean and modern energy for the first time. Other benefits of taking action include setting countries on the path to a low-carbon future – and creating new opportunities for women and marginalised groups.  

This award will uncover and boost innovation in training in the energy access sector that could be repeated or replicated around the world. We are particularly seeking applicants closing the gap between the education sector and employers, accelerating jobs and skills through innovative partnerships or overcoming barriers to training for excluded groups such as women and rural communities. 

The award will recognise the need for technical and soft skills, and the wide range of roles in the sector – from engineers to managers, sales agents, and IT experts. Work that raises the skills of enablers such as policymakers, financiers and suppliers is also eligible. 

Supported by:

Blue logo  

Ashden Award for Energising Agriculture

Ashden Award for Energising Agriculture

Award prize: £25,000

Applications closed

There are roughly 500 million smallholder farmers in the world, and many more people processing or selling food grown and gathered in their communities. Renewable energy technologies can help these people produce more, get a better price for what they sell, or work with new crops and products.

But technologies cannot, on their own, transform lives. Action is needed to help farmers and producers learn technical and business skills, access finance and new markets, and share their knowledge and insights with the organisations seeking to support them.

This award will accelerate work making progress in these key areas, and .

 

 

 

Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions

Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions

Award prize: £25,000

Applications closed

Rural local and indigenous communities are leading the way with ideas and solutions for nature-based sustainable development.

This award looks for replicable initiatives reducing poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, supporting communities to be effective stewards of forests and protect biodiversity. 

Work eligible for the award includes inclusive and sustainable business models, finance initiatives supporting community forest enterprises, agroforestry and permaculture programmes, market creation activities for sustainable forest products, and collaborations between the food, forest-product and conservation sectors.

Supported by

A man in a green shirt walking through the street

Solar Freeze, Kenya – Ashden Award for Humanitarian Energy 2021

Dysmus Kisulu, Founder: “The Ashden Award had a tremendous impact on the work that we do at Solar Freeze, it put a spotlight on both the solution - which is access to refrigeration and cooling for the healthcare sector in the Humanitarian Energy space – and most importantly it made our beneficiaries be seen and recognised. People living in the remote Kakuma refugee camp are now part of the global story in providing climate smart solutions that will help make the world a better place.”

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. 

The following three awards are for work carried out in the UK:

Ashden Award for Energy Innovation (UK)

Ashden Award for Skills in Low Carbon Sectors (UK)

Ashden Award for Greening Work (UK)

The following three awards are for work in this list of eligible countries:

Ashden Award for Energising Refugee Livelihoods

Ashden Award for Energising Agriculture

Ashden Award for Energy Access Skills

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. Many award winners use established technologies, but there must be innovative aspects to the work as a whole. These could include innovative approaches to marketing and distribution; improved financing mechanisms, a new way of sharing training and skills; introducing a technology to a country or region; or employing an innovative business model.
  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 in new communities, regions or countries. 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 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 , email apply@ashden.org and request a form in the relevant language.

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 2022 Ashden Awards will close on Tuesday 15 March 2022, 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.

  • 15 March 2022: Deadline for receipt of full application forms (which are in addition to registration of interest)
  • Early April 2022: 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 2022: Deadline for receipt of additional information, financial accounts and references. 
  • May 2022: Judging panels meet to select a shortlist  of applicants for each award. All other applicants told they have not been successful. 
  • May and June 2022: Assessors visit the shortlisted applicants. 
  • July 2022: Judging panels meet to select award winners and runners-up. All shortlisted applicants are told of the outcome, although this must be kept confidential until Ashden Awards week. 
  • August to October 2022: Preparation of publicity material about all shortlisted applicants. Detailed case studies written about winners’ work. Film crew visit award winners. 
  • Autumn 2022 : Ashden Awards week, when winners are publically announced for the first time. Date to be confirmed. 

 

 

See awards list above. 

In 2022, 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 2022.

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 2022 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 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 longlist, shortlist and winners on. If you reach the longlisting/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, and any additional criteria specified in the application form:

  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 developing countries 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.

. The assessment teams include Ashden staff, representatives from funders and knowledge partners, and freelance specialists in specific sectors

 

 

 

If your organisation is longlisted, 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 shortlisted.

 

 

 

If you are shortlisted, 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 2022, 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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