2014 Ashden International Award winners
International Gold Award and Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings
India's fast-growing economy is making ever greater demands on its electric grid. Global IT giant Infosys is leading the way to more sustainable growth, decreasing electricity consumption per staff member by 44% across its Indian business campuses. Success lies in seizing every opportunity to reduce energy consumption in its existing buildings - from reducing the size of chiller plants for air conditioning, to painting roofs white so they reflect the heat. Cutting-edge design of new buildings also helps keep offices cooler and maximises natural light. With a phenomenal $80 million cut off its energy bills, Infosys has made an unassailable business case for large companies to invest in energy efficiency - not just in India but across the globe.
Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise (SGFE), Cambodia
Ashden Award for Avoided Deforestation
This pioneering Cambodian business is turning leftover coconut shells and other waste into clean-burning briquettes for use as cooking fuel in Phnom Penh’s homes and restaurants. Most Cambodians cook on wood charcoal, which contributes to the country’s rampant deforestation and air pollution. Led by Carlo Figá Talamanca, Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise can scarcely keep up with demand. Users like Lin Haiy, who runs a family restaurant explains why the briquettes are so popular. “The old charcoal used to burn your clothes and it was smoky and dirty. This is much better: it burns longer”.
Citi Ashden Award for Innovative Finance
East Africa is emerging as a hotbed of creative solutions to meeting the energy needs of the poor. Mobile money - where customers pay with their mobile phones - is increasingly used as a method of payment. Off.Grid:Electric is a leader in the field for using mobile money to sell solar power as a daily service at an affordable price. But service doesn’t just mean the power itself. It also means exceptional customer service, including an all-day customer care telephone line and ongoing support from a local agent. With more than 10,000 homes taking up the service so far, as fast as systems are manufactured they are off to customers – thanks to a sophisticated app-based customer registration and product tracking system.
Greenway Grameen, India
Clean Energy for Women and Girls Award
Neha Juneja is CEO of a rapidly growing clean cookstoves business which she co-founded with Ankit Matthur just two years after completing her MBA in 2008. Greenway Grameen’s mission is to provide an affordable, desirable cookstove to improve quality of life for Indian women. Collecting and cooking with wood and dung is not only time-consuming; it creates dirty, smoky kitchens. Greenway Grameen's simple stoves dramatically reduce kitchen smoke, cook more quickly, and stay cleaner for longer. And they’ve been designed with women’s needs and aspirations in mind. Aside from taking care to produce a stove women were comfortable using, extensive market testing revealed that they sell far better when marketed as an essential part of a modern kitchen: more than 120,000 stoves have been sold so far.
Proximity Designs, Myanmar
USAID Ashden Award for Energy and Agriculture
Proximity Designs is introducing treadle pumps, solar irrigation and other sustainable agriculture techologies to Myanmar for the first time. Lifting water from wells and carrying it across fields is back-breaking, time-consuming work for rural farmers. Combined with water-saving drip irrigation technology, foot-operated treadle pumps that draw up water from wells can dramatically increase yields and incomes. With solar-powered pumps now also being developed, farmers are now seeing their lives transformed after decades of lacking access to technology. As well as more than doubling their harvests – and their income – the pumps are helping ease the daily drudgery of farming. With around 90,000 households benefiting so far, Proximity Designs continues to adapt its products to meet the needs of this rapidly changing country.