Ashden is a London-based charity that works in the field of sustainable energy and development. Its work includes the annual Ashden Awards, advocacy and research in the field of sustainable energy, and mentoring and practical support for award winners.
Sarah Butler-Sloss created the awards in 2001, 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'.
About the Ashden Awards
Ashden rewards and promotes local sustainable energy solutions in parts of Europe and the developing world through its annual Ashden Awards. Awards are given to organisations and businesses that deliver local, sustainable energy schemes with 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. To help the winners, each award includes a cash prize.
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) and Lord May of Oxford, (former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government).
After presenting the prizes at the 2007 ceremony Al Gore commented:
"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 provides a package of support for organisations after they win their awards. It also runs 'LESS CO2', a peer-to-peer mentoring programme for schools to learn from each other about energy saving. In 2011 Ashden helped set up the Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective, made up of Ashden Award winners. The Collective works to end energy poverty in India by acting as a unified voice for the sustainable energy sector.
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 159 organisations, including NGOs, businesses, local governments and schools.
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