As the COP26 climate summit nears its climax, Ashden is putting frontline climate innovators under the spotlight.
On November 4 we announced the 2021 Ashden Award winners, nine pioneering organisations working in low-income countries and the UK. This moment – and our other COP26 activity – has boosted the profile of proven climate solutions, showing how they can lower emissions and build fairer societies. On major platforms like Sky News, their powerful stories brought key issues to life.
From the @SkyNews Daily Climate Show ⬇️
— Ashden☀️🌎💡| 2021 #AshdenAwards at COP26 (@Ashden_org) November 6, 2021
So far, practical, real-world innovation has been painfully under-represented at the summit – even though these are the initiatives and enterprises that can take the world to zero carbon. By raising their profile, we help them secure investment and policy support, and inspire those in power to back more ambitious climate action.
Solutions for a zero carbon UK
Green heating and home upgrades are key to building a zero carbon UK – and can also provide rewarding and sustainable jobs around the country. That’s a message we took nationwide with comment in two of the UK’s biggest media platforms – The Sun and Mail Online.
We also helped green skills award winner Carbon Co-op showcase their work boosting home energy efficiency with stories at ITV News and the Manchester Evening News. And Marie Hand, a factory supervisor with heat pump pioneers Kensa Group, was one of the stars of a climate heroes photo campaign shot by renowned photographer Rankin. The campaign appeared in outdoor advertising spaces around the UK and was covered by Metro.
“I do it to help people out of poverty, to hopefully give them a better life.” Meet our next #EverydayClimateHero, Marie Hand, a factory supervisor overseeing production of @KensaHeatPumps #lowcarbon ground source heat pumps.
— futerra (@futerra) November 5, 2021
Green skills, jobs and livelihoods are crucial to climate action around the world – a point we made in our comment pieces with The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit and Reuters Business Events. These drew on the experiences and insights of our winners to send a powerful message to policymakers and funders.
Elsewhere, our Indian winners were covered by high profile publications including The Times of India, Deccan Herald, The Hindu and numerous regional titles in the country. Our four winners from East Africa were covered in Uganda’s New Vision, The East African, South Africa’s SABC-Channel Africa, Kenya’s Capital FM, Reuters, and in analysis by the Brookings Institute. Their wins also featured in climate sector-specific titles Environews and Harvest Money.
Social media and live events: from schools to cooling
We also boosted coverage of innovators with daily briefings on our blog at key points throughout the fortnight, and with a steady stream of social media posts from official and fringe events (our Ashden Awards keynote speaker, President Alvarado of Costa Rica, got in on the act too). We’ve even bumped into a few past winners.
Lovely to finally meet @COP26 2020 @Ashden_org winner @MESOL_share – now also @EarthshotPrize finalist and bursting with good news. They Just got the green light for ….. well, that’s for them to tell… pic.twitter.com/p6MsztVgJt
— Harriet Lamb (@HarrietLamb_) November 4, 2021
Beyond our award winners, we’ve also been highlighting our successful Let’s Go Zero campaign – which has united over 700 UK schools aiming to become zero carbon by 2030, with more joining every week. COP26 has seen a host of events at and with Glasgow schools, conversations with the UK Department for Education, and in-store appearances at local branches of IKEA – the company is a Let’s Go Zero campaign partner.
(1/2) Today at #COP26, the #LetsGoZero coalition handed a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon @nadhimzahawi MP, calling for the policies and funding to make all UK schools zero carbon by 2030. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/yhBgDEvGlN
— Let's Go Zero | 📍in #COP26 Blue Zone (@LetsGo_Zero) November 6, 2021
We also popped up in the COP26 Blue Zone to host an event on Cooler Homes, Stronger Communities – where we gave a platform to award winner Mahila Housing Trust and also ECOnsult, a member of our Fair Cooling Fund. They shared insights from communities on tackling the growing problem of indoor heat stress.
.@Ashden_org’s @gilesbristow and @UNEPDTU’s @ClimateSusanne on Cooler Homes, Stronger Communities—up next at the #SDG7Pavilion at #COP26 for today’s Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day👇#SDG7BeBold #LetsChangeEnergy pic.twitter.com/2PfTgiwUc0
— SEforALL | SDG7 Pavilion at COP26 (@SEforALLorg) November 8, 2021
Storytelling is at the heart of everything we do – long after COP26 has drawn to a close, we’ll carry on raising the profile of climate solutions that create a fairer, more sustainable world.