Cambridge UK solar technology pioneer Eight19 is one of 11 winners announced today at the 2012 World Business and Development Awards (WBDA) for its efforts to improve living standards in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.Eight19 was recognised at a ceremony concluding the Business Action for Sustainable Development Business Day taking place during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), where world leaders along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, convened.
The Awards recognize innovative business models that deliver both commercial success and help improve social, economic or environmental conditions—otherwise known as inclusive business models.
The high up-front costs of solar have been the major factor prohibiting wider uptake of small solar systems in off-grid emerging markets. By combining solar and mobile phone technology, the Indigo ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar system created by Eight19 is paid for with scratchcards through a service model.
Users receive eight hours of fume-free household lighting per day and mobile phone charging, whilst cutting their weekly energy spend by 50 per cent or more. Indigo is eliminating kerosene for lighting and having a transformational impact on peoples’ lives.
A panel of nine independent judges selected winning initiatives, under the categories of small- and medium-sized enterprise and large organisations. The 2012 Awards attracted 115 applications from 38 countries showcasing a variety of inclusive business endeavours undertaken by associations, non-governmental organizations and individual companies.
Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO said: “Eight19 is hugely honoured and delighted to be the recipient of a 2012 World Business and Development Award at the RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
“Indigo aims to provide sustainable solar power to off-grid communities in Africa, eliminating the carbon footprint of kerosene lamps and providing access to high quality power.
“The prestigious World Business and Development Award is an important recognition of this work and the tremendous support of our partners throughout Africa to provide clean and safe energy to many more people currently living off grid.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Simon Bransfield-Garth