News

2020 Ashden Awards Applications Now Open!

Sustainable energy enterprise advocate Ashden has opened its applications for the Ashden Awards 2020!

By Quynhnhu Nguyen · November 5, 2019

As the need for solutions tackling the climate crisis grows more intense, it is more important than ever to shine a light on those businesses bringing new innovations sustainable living.

Established in 2001, the Ashden Awards are globally recognised as a mark of excellence in the field of green energy as well as offering funding, tailored support and a global platform to nominees and winners. The annual Awards Ceremony identifies and accelerates the growth of the most exciting climate action around the world.

Key dates
Applications open: 4 Nov 2019
Applications close: 11 Dec 2019
Awards Ceremony: End of June 2020

Award categories and criteria

Cities:

  • Sustainable Built Environments (UK): We are looking for organisations responding to the climate emergency by retrofitting and developing zero carbon buildings, infrastructure and public spaces. The award will look holistically at the built environment, considering how elements such as green walls, natural landscaping, rainwater management and food growing can be used alongside low‐carbon retrofit and construction techniques to bring both embodied and operational CO2 emissions to net‐zero and increase resilience to climate change. It will also highlight the integration of buildings with local mobility, such as providing improved walking and cycling routes, space for cycle storage, public transport access and electric vehicle charging.
  • Energy Innovation (UK): We would like to receive applications from organisations that have developed innovative technologies, products, services or programmes to deliver sustainable energy. These must be on the market, have the potential to scale up and result in significant net reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, for example by decarbonising heat, reducing energy consumption or increasing renewable energy generation.
  • Clean Air in Towns and Cities (UK): We are looking for applications from organisations, projects or programmes cutting air pollution in urban areas by making transport more sustainable, while providing social and economic benefits to residents and businesses. The winner will have the potential to scale up to work across wide areas, and/or to be replicated in other towns and cities. All sustainable forms of mobility and goods transport are eligible, as are policies put in place by local authorities. Innovation could range from technical developments and infrastructure improvements to behavioural change and Apps that encourage active travel or public transport use. We are particularly interested in work that encourages walking and cycling as well as work that reduces the need for transport, for example through planning policies.
  • Sustainable Built Environment (Global): We are looking for organisations working in the built environment that are responding to the climate emergency and the lack of housing of a good standard, through retrofitting existing buildings and the development of zero carbon buildings, infrastructure and public spaces. This award will look holistically at the built environment, considering how elements such as green walls, natural landscaping, rainwater management and food growing can be used alongside low‐carbon retrofit and construction techniques to bring both embodied and operational CO2 emissions to netzero, and increase resilience to climate change. It will also highlight the integration of buildings with local mobility, such as providing improved walking and cycling routes, space for cycle storage, public transport access and electric vehicle charging.
  • Sustainable Mobility (Global): This award recognises innovative enterprises or programmes that are improving access to sustainable transport and mobility services for those who currently have inadequate access allowing better participation in the economy and in education, whilst and having a measurable impact on greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution or congestion. All forms of sustainable mobility are eligible, but we particularly welcome applicants who are promoting walking and cycling. Winners could come from the private, public or third sector, and innovation could range from technical developments and infrastructure improvements to behavioural change and provision of travel information (or the application of digital, AI, big data and communications technologies). The award will recognise the need for an integrated transport system, where the private car is not prioritised and ease of using and switching between more sustainable transport modes is promoted. Urban planning initiatives that discourage car use, e.g. through land use policies or transit‐oriented development, are also eligible. We are particularly interested in work that improves more inclusive access to sustainable mobility for groups such as families/caregivers with young children, the elderly and people with disabilities – this could be through technological innovation and/or policy e.g. fare structures.
  • Cool Cities (Global): This award focuses on how cities can adapt to rising temperatures by using passive cooling approaches as part of the built environment. It will look for passive ways to reduce the demand on air conditioning and protect human health by making indoor and outdoor environments safer and more comfortable. We are especially seeking initiatives which are protecting people most vulnerable to dangerous heat stress, such as those in informal settlements and who work outdoors. We are interested in several areas, including:
    • Work that is reducing temperatures at a street or district level, for example through planting, shading, evaporative cooling or maximising cooling from wind and water.
    • Passive measures to reduce temperatures in and around buildings, such as shading, insulation and ventilation.
    • Heat action plans or other policy instruments, to preserve life during
      heatwaves, the creation of ‘cool zones’ in cities for those with no access to cooling at home and other adaptation measures.
    • Innovation, whether technical, financial or behavioural, that increases the rate of installation of sustainable cooling measures.

We have a particular focus on the cooling solutions for existing cities, although new developments that reduce heat stress and demand for air conditioning are also of interest, as is any work to overcome barriers such as political will, finance, competing uses for public space and incentivising the private sector to take action.

Development:

  • Energy Access Policy, Planning & Finance: Systemic change is needed if we are to achieve universal access to modern, clean and affordable energy by 2030. We are looking to highlight innovation needed to achieve the necessary pace and scale of change, with particular attention to the hardest to reach. We are seeking applications from initiatives focusing on aspects of sustainable energy finance, policy and planning, and are particularly interested in work which takes an integrated, collaborative approach, bringing together key stakeholders and considering the energy system holistically.
  • Humanitarian Energy: We are looking for outstanding initiatives providing clean, safe, reliable and accessible energy in humanitarian settings. This work will relate to electricity, cooking or energy efficiency and may feature new, inclusive delivery models, innovative end user or programme finance, multi‐stakeholder collaborations, examples of operational best practice or innovation in other areas. It is important that the work is collaborative, ideally involving partnerships between people affected by crisis, support agencies and local authorities and demonstrates inclusive approaches to ownership and management. We are especially interested in holistic approaches which involve coordination with national government authorities and energy provision that benefits the host population as well as displaced people.
  • Natural Climate Solutions: Forest ecosystems play a huge role in capturing and storing CO2 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indigenous Peoples and local communities play a vital role in conserving these ecosystems and should have the right to benefit from their sustainable use and management. We are looking for initiatives which are conserving and restoring forests whilst protecting the rights and economic needs of communities who depend on forest resources. This could consist of strengthening governance rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, finance initiatives to support community forest enterprise, agroforestry and permaculture programmes, market creation activities for sustainable forest‐products, inclusive, sustainable business models, collaborations between the ‘forest‐product’ sector and the conservation sector, amongst other approaches. This award will focus on solutions that either exist within or have the potential to create impact on the critical basins of the Amazon, the Congo and the rainforests of South East Asia.
  • Energy and Livelihoods: We are looking for organisations or programmes using sustainable energy to improve the livelihoods of the world’s poorest communities. This award seeks examples of ‘productive’ uses of sustainable energy that improves people’s ability to earn a living and meet their subsistence needs.
  • Energy Access Finance or Business Model Innovation: We are looking for organisations or programmes improving access to energy through innovations in financial mechanisms and business models. The work must be benefiting those in areas where energy access rates are low and the market for sustainable energy products and services is underdeveloped.

Work can be in one or more of the following areas:

  • Innovative financial mechanisms or business models which make products more affordable and accessible for customers and/or end‐users (e.g. use of innovative payment mechanisms and end‐user/distributor finance)
  • Innovations which improve the financial viability of enterprises to bring affordable, sustainable energy products and services to market (e.g. process efficiencies, tertiary business services, structured access to finance)
  • Innovations which reduce risk and cost of capital associated with investing in underdeveloped markets (e.g. innovative early‐stage finance and support, market‐building and information services, interventions to reduce policy‐side risk).

To find out more on how to apply for the Ashden Awards, click here.