Carbon Co-op wins Ashden Award in ceremony at COP26

'In this pivotal moment for the future of humankind it is vital we highlight trailblazing, inspiring efforts to build a better, liveable world'

Manchester retrofit specialists Carbon Co-op are among this year’s winners in the Ashden Awards, given to “transformative climate solutions” that “build a more just world”, in a ceremony at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The award ceremony was accompanied by a 30 minute film of the winners and a keynote speech from Carlos Alvarado Quesada, president of Costa Rica, which earlier this month won the Earthshot Prize as a recognition of its pioneering climate innovation.

Winners receive grants, publicity and support to grow and replicate their innovation, with backing from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Carbon Co-op works – which won for energy access skills – helps householders install energy efficiency tech and is part of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham’s Climate Change Partnership. It recently launched a £550,000 community share offer to eco-refurbish 1,150 homes and train 3,500 contractors in the region over the next five years.

Related: New Citizen-led climate solutions from Carbon Co-op

Jonathan Atkinson, director and co-founder of Carbon Co-op, said: “The UK faces huge challenges in insulating its 29 million homes, we have shown initiatives like People Powered Retrofit can drive householder interest and train up the workforce we need to improve their homes. We’re delighted to receive this recognition from Ashden for the work we’ve put into People Powered Retrofit.”

The other winners are Mbou Mon Tour (rainforest community project in DR Congo, for cooling in informal settlements); Mahila Housing Trust (working with poor urban women in India, for humanitarian energy); Solar Freeze (which offers refrigeration in Kenyan refugess camps, for energy access innovation); New Energy Nexus Uganda (a clean energy organistion, for regenerative agriculture); YICE Uganda (a permaculture organisation, for green communities); The Welcoming (which works with migrants and refugees in Edinburgh, for UK climate innovation); Kensa Group (a UK heat pump and ground loop organistion, for green skills); and Bharatiya Vikas Trust (a training project in India, for energy access).

President Queseda said: “Costa Rica is proud to lead by example with our successful model of conservation. All the nominees to the 2021 Ashden Awards have also chosen to lead by example too. That is why, as a Costa Rican, I can relate to each one of them and am thrilled to take part in the awards ceremony.

“We also share the conviction that sustainable development goes hand in hand with economic growth, as well as a deep commitment to decarbonisation and to promote nature-based solutions to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss challenges we face. For that, I do believe the great endeavour of our generation is to abolish fossil fuels.

“In this pivotal moment for the future of humankind it is vital we highlight trailblazing, inspiring efforts to build a better, liveable world for current and future generations. That is what the Ashden Awards are about.”

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