RTCC 2013 Awards: Greatest social impact in an emerging economy

Nominations for the inaugural RTCC Climate Change Awards, due to be presented at UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw

RTCC 2013 Climate Change Awards: full nominations

Philips has invested heavily in LED lighting solutions in developing countries

Philips has invested heavily in LED lighting solutions in developing countries

Huawei Technologies

Huawei builds mini-shelters for internet “hotspots” with a smartly controlled cooling system and design to lessen their impact on the environment. By separating the equipment and battery compartments according to their different temperature requirements, the mini-shelter creates zero energy waste from the cooling system, reducing its energy consumption by around 80% compared to current hotspot designs. The size of these shelters also reduces the amount of land required by up to 70%, providing greater internet access to people across the world with less environmental cost. Developed in China, these mini-shelters have been rolled out in over 60 countries including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and China. Company figures show that their design has saved more than 250,000 tons of carbon per year.


Philips will create more than 100 Community Light Centres across Africa and South America over the next two years, providing solar-powered LED lighting systems for communal spaces in countries with an unreliable electricity supply.These Centres provide communities hit by energy poverty with areas the size of a small football pitch that can remain lit after dark, allowing people to enjoy recreational activities like sport and education, receive healthcare services and buy from local traders. Backed by the Dutch Football Association and the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, the solar powered lighting reduces fossil fuel consumption, increases employment in emerging economies and does not require investment in large-scale power grids. Recognised by Sustania as one of the 100 sustainable leaders for 2013, these Centres are currently found in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.

City of Montería and Proactiva Medio Ambiente

The Montería Green City 2019 initiative, run jointly by the municipal authority and Proactiva Medio Ambiente, is a plan of 26 actions for the city to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2019. These include cycle schemes, reforestation programmes and more efficient waste management systems. By tackling 15 key challenges facing the city, the initiative aims to adapt the city to climate impacts and create sustainable urban development. As the first Colombian city to calculate its carbon footprint in 2011, Montería’s multistakeholder approach to tackling climate change, working with the university, industry, farmers, and architects, has gained it recognition as a sustainability leader in South America.

Pak Oasis

The Pakistan-based water company has recently completed a solar-powered 100,000 gallon per day water treatment plant, as well as a wastewater plant that treats sewage, extracts biofertilisers and diverts the treated water to irrigating agricultural land. It is pioneering solar-powered, integrated water management programmes in conjunction with the UN Millennium Development Goals.


Fenugreen’s FreshPapers are sheets of compostable, low-cost paper that help keep boxes and bags of food fresh for 2-4 times longer, working like a refrigeration system minus energy costs. FreshPaper offers a solution to food waste, and reduces the strain on land, energy, and water resources in the current food system. Since introducing its “Buy a Pack, Give a Pack” initiative, Fenugreen now donates Freshpaper to food banks for every purchase of the product, and is expanding to work with more farmers in the developing world. Named one of the top 100 sustainability initiatives of 2013 by Sustania, Fenugreen’s FreshPapers are currently available in 35 countries worldwide including EU countries, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Japan, India, South Africa, Malawi and Haiti.


iFixit aims to enable people to repair their electronics, saving them money, encouraging a shift away from short-cycle consumerism and reducing global waste from electronics. Its free, publicly editable repair manual has over 500,000 registered users who share answers to repair questions and contribute to the constantly-evolving guides. iFixit claims to have been used by 29.5 million people from around 100 countries in 2012, including the USA, Brazil, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Mexico, and Egypt. iFixit now hopes its resources can empower people to set up their own repair businesses across the world.


The first pilot of Caltech’s solar powered self-cleaning toilet which can transform human waste into hydrogen and fertilizer appeared this year, and is due to be tested in India early next year. The toilet can store the converted hydrogen fuel cells as energy, while the water it treats is reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation. This massively reduces water usage, and helps tackle sanitation problems in developing and emerging economies. Able to work off-grid and requiring no plumbing infrastructure, Caltech working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plan to roll the product out in Peru, China, Thailand and Kenya.

Lucid Energy

Lucid Energy offers businesses and industries using lots of water a new way to generate renewable energy internally in their pipelines. By placing spherical turbines in water pipes which spin as water passes through them, this technology creates a reliable source of carbon-neutral cheap energy from a waste product with no disruption to industrial operations. This reduces the energy, cost and resources needed to meet demand for water. Developed in the USA, this form of hydropower is currently being introduced in the USA, China, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Canada, Italy, Spain, and South Africa, and was named a sustainability leader for 2013 by Sustania.

Three Wheels United

Indian initiative Three Wheels United offers rickshaw drivers fair loans to buy their own auto-rickshaws, which use clean technology to reduce pollution from the vehicles. These new models release fewer dangerous particulates, cut the costs of fuel for the drivers and have a smaller carbon footprint. Since starting up in Bangalore in 2011, over 700 drivers have signed up to Three Wheels United’s saving scheme. With 120 more efficient vehicles on the road, TWU hope to have introduced a total of 750 new auto-rickshaws by the end of this year.

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