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Ashden is a London-based charity that works in the field of sustainable energy and development. Its mission is to "accelerate the transformation of our energy systems so that everyone, regardless of geography or status, has access to sustainable energy".
The organisation runs an annual awards scheme, the Ashden Awards, which works to uncover and promote “the most exciting sustainable energy pioneers” to help them scale their solutions and accelerate the transition to a Low-carbon economy. Ashden’s work also includes advocacy and research in the field of sustainable energy and a support program for the award winners.
Ashden was Founded in 2001 by Sarah Butler-Sloss from the Ashden Trust (one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts). In 2011 the charity changed its working name to Ashden, with its full name registered with the Charity Commission being 'Ashden, Sustainable solutions, better lives'. In 2019, Harriet Lamb became Ashden's CEO, having previously lead the international peace building charity International Alert.
About the Ashden Awards
Ashden rewards and promotes sustainable energy solutions across Europe and the developing world through its annual Ashden Awards. Awards are given to organisations and businesses who have innovative sustainable energy solutions that deliver social, economic and environmental benefits. Awards are provided across several different categories, including UK and international awards. Awards for sustainable travel schemes have been provided since 2012. Awards include a cash prize of up to £20,000 to help the winners grow.
The Awards ceremony
The Ashden Awards ceremony is held annually at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Previous hosts include broadcasters Emma Freud, Anna Ford, John Humphrys and Jonathan Dimbleby and environmental journalist Mark Lynas.
Guest speakers in recent years have included Kandeh Yumkella, Prince Charles, Sir David King, Wangari Maathai, Al Gore, David Attenborough, Hilary Benn, (the then UK Secretary of State for International Development), Dr RK Pachauri, Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, David Cameron, (leader of the Conservative Party), Lord May of Oxford, (former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government) and Christiana Figueres.
"No one can attend an event like the Ashden Awards and fail to be inspired. We must find a path from an unsustainable present to a sustainable future.What impresses me most about these projects is they truly are becoming the change that is needed in the world.These Awards tell us how to illuminate this path to a sustainable future together. I hope that we can make it quickly."
Ashden runs a package of programmes aimed to accelerate their ambition for "a world where everyone has access to affordable, clean energy".
LESS CO2 is a peer-to-peer mentoring programme for schools to learn from each other about energy saving.
Ashden India Collective
In 2011 Ashden helped set up the Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective, made up of Ashden Award winners working in India. The Collective works to end energy poverty in India by acting as a unified voice for the sustainable energy sector.
Liveable Cities Programme
Works with UK Cities to encourage local authorities to embrace the opportunity to lead on climate action.
Ashden seminars and conferences
Ashden also holds specialist seminars and conferences bringing together their award winners with practitioners, academics, and those who make or influence policy. Examples of recent seminars include one held at Imperial College and another held at DFID.
List of winners
The Ashden Awards have been presented to 205 organisations, including NGOs, businesses, local governments and schools.
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