Entries for the 2021 Ashden Awards have opened – with new categories promoting innovation in green skills training and green community initiatives. The awards, which bring winners a grant of £10,000, will also uncover outstanding initiatives delivering energy efficiency, green buildings and reduced industrial waste.
The prestigious Ashden Awards highlight trailblazing climate solutions in the public, private and charity sectors. Winners benefit from prize money, publicity, business support and networking opportunities and more – so their ideas can be scaled up or replicated. As well as three UK-focused categories, the awards will feature four categories celebrating innovation in developing countries.
Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb said: “As host of this year’s pivotal COP26 climate talks, Britain must be a low-carbon leader. We need Government policies that back the inspiring organisations developing green skills, retrofitting buildings, designing efficient heat systems, and reducing waste from homes and businesses.
“Yet even the best initiatives often lack the resources and profile needed to scale-up. That’s why we seek to discover, shine the spotlight on and promote them. Investing in these radical ideas can also kickstart a green recovery from coronavirus.
“It’s vital that climate action includes every corner of society – not just to drive down emissions, but to make sure we all enjoy benefits such as cleaner air, warmer homes, better transport and more inclusive communities.”
“That’s why we’re so excited about our new award for initiatives supporting greener communities. . You don’t need to be a climate-focused organisation to apply – tackling the climate crisis is about people coming together to make a difference.”
Entries are open now, and close on March 3. Winners will be announced in Autumn.
The 2021 Ashden Awards (UK)
Ashden Award for Green Skills, supported by Garfield Weston Foundation
Reaching net zero by 2050 demands the upgrading of over a million buildings a year, from schools and hospitals to homes and offices. But there is a serious shortage of people with the necessary skills.
This award will highlight organisations developing green skills in the areas of retrofit and low carbon heat. Applicants could be upskilling existing contractors, retraining workers new to the low carbon sector, or providing initial training for those new to the job market. There will be a particular focus on organisations inspiring people from a variety of backgrounds to join the sector, as well as organisations working to build demand for their trainees so they have jobs to go to. Businesses, charities, community groups and public sector organisations are all eligible.
Ashden Award for Green Communities, supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
The low carbon transition will demand changes to how we heat our homes, the way we travel and what we eat. Grassroots organisations are well-placed to excite and inspire people to get involved in environmental issues and move to more sustainable ways of living. Community groups also have a unique role to play in shaping and driving local and national climate action.
The award will recognise an initiative that makes climate action relevant to the everyday lives of citizens and the things they care about, with particular attention on engaging beyond typical ‘green audiences’. It will seek to reward initiatives that demonstrate how climate action can cut carbon and tackle social issues (such as poor mental or physical health) at the same time. The issues tackled and approaches used could range from highlighting under-represented voices within the climate sector to art projects inspiring communities into action.
Ashden Award for Climate Innovation in the UK, supported by Impax Asset Management
The UK Government’s aim to reach net-zero-carbon by 2050 is woefully unambitious – but even this target demands huge growth in high-impact climate solutions.
This award will target key areas with the potential to unlock significant carbon savings across the UK – advances in energy systems (particularly heating), the built environment, and industrial innovation supporting a circular economy.
Examples include businesses driving advances in heat pump installation or low-carbon district heating, organisations making progress in affordable retrofit or low-carbon construction, and those reusing materials and equipment or embracing bio-based alternatives. Businesses, charities and public sector organisations are all eligible.