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Powering a green recovery

Winners of 2020’s Ashden Awards have solutions that could power a global green recovery
Jarvis Smith - My Green Pod
Powering a green recovery

Proven climate solutions can drive a green recovery from coronavirus, according to Ashden.

The climate charity says 11 winners of its annual Ashden Awards, announced at 15.00 yesterday (02 July), have the potential to create resilience, green growth and fairer societies in the UK and around the world.

‘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.’

Ashden CEO

Winners from UK to Nepal

Winning initiatives come from India, Bangladesh, Togo, the UK, Brazil, Yemen and Nepal. India led the way with three winners – one for city cooling, one for tackling deadly air pollution and one for the use of solar technology to support female smallholder farmers.

Among the winners, NRDC in Ahmedabad, India was awarded the new Cool Cities Award for its innovative city-wide red alert communications and home cooling roof paint.

In Bangladesh Solshare’s local energy trading system received the Financial Innovation Award. Its peer-to-peer microgrids provide off-grid communities with electricity by allowing neighbours to trade excess solar energy which is normally wasted.

Awards were given from the very ambitious to the smaller but highly replicable. The aim of Togo’s public-private partnership is to deliver off-grid energy to the whole country by 2030.

E-cargobikes in the UK are providing a very low-carbon alternative to highly polluting, high-carbon delivery vehicles in the city.

Sustainable building systems

Advances in sustainable building systems were also recognised. In the UK Passivhaus Homes received the Sustainable Built Environment Award for its work building ultra-efficient homes, creating a standardised build process and builder training.

Build Up Nepal was awarded for its work training women in remote areas to be construction entrepreneurs building affordable, earthquake-proof housing.

Business support during the pandemic

The winners and finalists were also applauded for their responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, underscoring the vital role of enterprises that are close to communities.

Ashden has backed an international call for governments and international institutions to support such vital low-carbon businesses during and after the pandemic, many of which face collapse.

‘The decisions of the next 12 months will be crucial to tackling the climate crisis. Climate solutions abound to help us build back better – as long as investors, funders and politicians throw their weight and their funds behind them. They must pour finance and political will into work that is already having a huge impact.

‘As the world rebuilds in the wake of coronavirus, we must put justice at the heart of our efforts as well as a real sense of urgency.

‘The world needs a fair green recovery powered by solutions that benefit the worst off; solutions that close society’s divides, rather than widening them; and solutions that acknowledge the climate crisis. We only have a few years to adopt low carbon technologies at scale in order to avoid climate and human disaster.’

Ashden CEO

The Ashden Awards, founded in 2001, are at the heart of this year’s London Climate Action Week: Digital, which runs from 01-03 July.

2020 Ashden Award winners

The National Resources Defence Council (India): Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan protects the vulnerable against extreme temperatures

S4S Technologies (India): Solar dryers preserve crops, stop wastage and provide livelihoods

ITDP and the Greater Chennai Corporation (India): creating cleaner air in Chennai City through ‘active travel’ such as walking and cycling

Xingu Seed Network co-operative (Brazil): native seeding method accelerate reforestation of the Amazon

United Nations Development Programme (Yemen): providing new livelihoods through access to solar energy

Solshare (Bangladesh): peer-to-peer solar microgrids trade surplus energy in off-grid communities

The Togolese Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency (AT2ER): transforming the system of energy access at scale

Guru Systems: reducing inefficiencies of heat networks in multiple housing residencies makes massive carbon and cost savings

CLEAN AIR IN UK TOWNS AND CITIES AWARD (UK): an electric cargobike delivery business reducing congestion and pollution

Passivhaus Homes: simple, low cost, low carbon homes

Build Up Nepal: helping construction entrepreneurs, including many women, build earthquake resistant houses

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