The winners of the 2020 Ashden Awards have been revealed – proven climate solutions that can drive a green recovery from coronavirus.
11 winners from the UK and developing countries were announced in a video celebration featuring films of the organisations in action – as well as discussion of the biggest climate issues and poetry from young writer and performer Rakaya Fetuga.
Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb said: “There’s growing momentum for a green recovery from coronavirus, one that escapes the failures of the past and propels us toward a low-carbon future. This new future is within our reach, as long as we back radical climate solutions.
“This year Ashden has uncovered outstanding pioneers worldwide. Our award winners are bringing clean energy to the world’s poorest people and creating sustainable buildings and transport. They are protecting our rainforests and tackling the impact of deadly heatwaves.”
The 2020 Ashden Award winners
Cool Cities, supported by K-CEP and ClimateWorks Foundation
NRDC’s Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan tackles deadly heatwaves in the Indian city – making sure citizens know when extreme temperatures are on their way, and what they should do in response. There’s support for health workers and public officials too. The partnership, which helps the city’s most vulnerable in particular, has been replicated across India and beyond.
Financial Innovation for Energy Access, supported by Citi
Solar home systems are common in off-grid communities around the world – but they often produce unused electricity. In Bangladesh, technology company Solshare allows system owners to trade excess energy with their neighbours. Less energy is wasted, and more people are connected.
System Innovation for Energy Access, supported by UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
In Togo, only 35% of homes have access to electricity. The Togolese Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency is working with the private sector to deliver on- and off-grid energy. Subsidies, training and new technology help the initiative target women and the poorest households.
Energy Innovation (UK), supported by Impax
Guru Systems develops intelligent technology to make energy systems more transparent, lower cost and lower carbon. Delivering low-carbon heat is one of the biggest challenges in the transition to a net-zero emissions future. Their hardware and data analytics help to accelerate this transition by using AI-driven analytics to improve efficiency and change the future of heat for the better.
Natural Climate Solutions, supported by UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
In the Amazon, seed collection is key to reforesting degraded land – and creates a vital income for threatened agricultural and indigenous communities, those with the skills and knowledge to protect the rainforest. Seed collection business Rede de Sementes do Xingu co-ordinates seed collectors, administrators and buyers in the state of Mato Grosso.
Humanitarian Energy, supported by Tellus Mater Foundation, Linbury Trust and JA Clark Trust
Community-owned solar microgrids have brought higher incomes and reliable energy to conflict-hit Yemen. The grids were created by groups of local entrepreneurs, thanks to grants and support from UNDP Now grid owners – including women – earn a better living, while their neighbours benefit from radically cheaper electricity.
Sustainable Built Environment (Global), supported by Grosvenor
Build Up Nepal, a social enterprise, helps women become construction entrepreneurs, by giving them machinery, training and support to build homes from compressed-earth blocks. The blocks are more sustainable than traditional fired bricks, and the scheme has already saved 17,600 tonnes of CO2.
Sustainable Built Environment (UK), supported by Garfield Weston Foundation
Passivhaus Homes supports the Passivhaus building method, a global standard that guarantees ultra-efficient homes needing minimal energy for heating and cooling. Passivhaus Homes cuts risk for builders through a standardised design and building process, and a store selling approved materials. The company also offers guidance and training.
Energy and Livelihoods, supported by the Waterloo Foundation
India’s S4S Technologies has developed a patented solar dryer for food products. It provides the machines, alongside tailored packages of finance, training and support, to a wide range of customers – including female smallholder farmers. This holistic approach helps even the poorest boost their income.
Sustainable Mobility (International), sponsored by Bank of America
ITDP and the Greater Chennai Corporation are taking bold steps to promote walking and cycling in the Indian city – tackling deadly air pollution and creating more accessible public spaces. The results include 120km of improved pavements, a public bike-share scheme, car-free Sundays, and education and resources for policymakers.
Clean air in UK towns and Cities, supported by HSBC
The rise of online shopping threatens to clog our streets with more polluting cars and vans. E-cargobikes have partnered with supermarkets and small businesses to deliver goods via electric bike across London.
Winning organisations were assessed through a rigorous 12-month process involving Ashden’s experts and judges from across the climate sector. Winners will receive a cash prize, development support, and the chance to connect with investors and leading figures in the energy and climate sector. Since 2001, Ashden has awarded 236 ground-breaking organisations.