The 2024 Ashden Award for

Natural Climate Solutions (Global South)

Applications closed.

What is the Natural Climate Solutions (Global South) award?

Defending and empowering Indigenous communities

Award prize: £25,000

Supported by: UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero 

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. When they 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 carrying out their vision of ecological restoration and territory protection, and strengthening their incomes, wellbeing and security of their communities. 

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. The winner’s work will be centred on the needs, priorities and knowledge of indigenous people and local communities. 

Key 2024 Award dates

applications open

14 November2023

Applications CloseD

25 January 2024

Finalists announced

fEBRUARY2024

Winners announced at award ceremony

June2024

Explore previous Natural Climate Solutions winners

Previous Natural Climate Solutions award winners provide excellent examples of replicable models supporting indigenous communities to play a central role in the restoration of degraded land and be properly remunerated for their work and expertise:

2023 Natural Climate Solutions Award winner

CERAF-NORD supports communities around Benue National Park, and in the north of Cameroon, to restore degraded land through agroforestry.

2022 Natural Climate Solutions Award winner

This NGO has been working with indigenous communities in Indonesian Borneo to reverse illegal logging and deforestation for more than 15 years.

2021 Natural Climate Solutions Award winner

A community-based NGO network working with rainforest communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to make a sustainable living though agriculture and tourism.

2020 Natural Climate Solutions Award winner

This indigenous-led organisation is doing critical work supporting the livelihoods and valuing the skills and knowledge of indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon.

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.

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 or adaptation 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. A blank copy of the form is available to download in the platform before you start.To apply in French, Spanish, Portuguese or Arabic, simply select your preferred language in the platform

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  at apply@ashden.org  

Applications for the 2024 Ashden Awards will close on Thursday 25 January 2024.  The award ceremony will take place in June 2024.

To see a full list of our awards, click here.

In 2024, we will be awarding work that fits into the themes listed here and meets the criteria listed in our FAQS. Please consider these themes and criteria when making 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.

The application form will ask you which specific theme or 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. 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 a virtual assessment and. If you win, you will need to attend events in London during the week of our awards ceremony. We will pay costs related to this, including travel and accommodation for non-UK winner. The location and timing of these events is to be confirmed, but may be in London, UK during June 2024.

All information submitted may be seen by Ashden staff, and external 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 organisations that do not win for up to three years. This is to enable ‘fast-track’ re-applications by those organisations 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 2024 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, press releases 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, finalists and winners on specific dates. 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 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Reducing inequality

Applicants will be reducing inequality within their own organisation, and aiming to reduce inequality in local communities, nationally or globally, including through their supply chains.

  1. Participation and democratisation

Applicants will be promoting participation and democratisation, for example by involving local communities, customers, service users or employees/workers in decision-making, or by enabling shared ownership of their organisation or the equitable distribution of benefits.

  1. Communications potential

Applicants will have developed an innovative solution that inspires 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 service users who have a story to tell about the impact of the applicant’s work on people’s lives.

Some awards have specific criteria which will be incorporated into the application process

You will hear in February 2024 if you have made it through to the shortlist.

If your organisation is shortlisted, we will get in touch in early February 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 call 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 virtual assessment of your work. For applicants based in the UK, the judging visit will probably take half a  day. It will involve one or two people from Ashden.  

For applicants with work based in other countries, the virtual assessment can be conducted over several meetings. We will also ask a photojournalist to visit you and gather human stories and pictures illustrating your work. This will include visiting communities where your work is creating impact. 

The assessments 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.

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 gets 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 you to use in your 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 seek to integrate UK-based winners into our Sustainable Towns and Citiesprogramme 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 through 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 get to grips with a wide range of practical issues. These can be anything from customer experience or developing a communications strategy to getting investment-ready.
  • Many of these benefits are also offered to shortlisted organisationswhere possible.

 

As an Ashden Award winner, we ask you to: 

  1. Take part in the awards week events which are expected to take place in June 2024, location to be confirmed.  Winning an Ashden Award is contingent on taking part in the awards week activities.
  2. Work with us to facilitate a visit from our video producer and photojournalist. 
  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.

 

Join the 2023 Ashden Awards ceremony

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Held in London and streamed online

This November, journey with us – from Liverpool to Kenya, Brecon to Peru – to meet the grassroots innovators transforming the way we work to upskill communities, supporting those most in need and protecting our planet

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