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Sanitation infrastructure pioneer given sustainable ‘Nobel Prize’

Sanergy, a company that provides low-cost, sustainable sanitation centres throughout Kenya, has been named the Best Sustainable Idea at the Katerva Awards. Alex Blackburne looks into the acknowledgement.

The first annual Katerva Awards – in which accolades are given to “excellent sustainability ideas and initiatives” – took place in December, and sanitation innovator, Sanergy, has come out on top.

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blankSanergy, a company that provides low-cost, sustainable sanitation centres throughout Kenya, has been named the Best Sustainable Idea at the Katerva Awards. Alex Blackburne looks into the acknowledgement.

The first annual Katerva Awards – in which accolades are given to “excellent sustainability ideas and initiatives” – took place in December, and sanitation innovator, Sanergy, has come out on top.

The US company builds, distributes, collects and converts sanitation infrastructure in the slums of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. In Kenya as a whole, some 8m people lack access to adequate sanitation.

This video summarises the organisation’s business plan.

Katerva, a UK-registered charity, has recognised Sanergy’s efforts, giving its scheme the Best Sustainable Idea tag for 2011.

Katerva’s mission, its website says, is “to identify, award and accelerate game-changing ingenuity in sustainability“.

And despite being in its infancy, the awards ceremony has already drawn big plaudits from within the industry.

If the Nobel Society had an award for sustainability“, wrote Carla Tonelli for Reuters in October, “It would resemble the Katerva Awards, a new international prize for the most promising ideas and efforts to advance the planet toward sustainability“.

Sanergy came out on top of the Materials and Resources category, and was ultimately selected as the overall winner, fending off competition from other category leaders such as the Nissan LEAF, Barefoot Power and eBay shop, WorldofGood.com.

Katerva CEO and founder, Terry Waghorn, wrote a blog for Mass Challenge, in which said, “All of us at Katerva firmly believe that Sanergy has the capacity to fundamentally change the way in which we all live and interact with the planet”.

The Katerva Awards highlight the abundance of sustainable innovations quietly bubbling underneath the mainstream radar. The real challenge is to transfer them to the public eye, so that more awareness, and thus, more investment, can take place.

You can help do this by investing sustainably, in growth-stage companies that have a positive long term impact on the planet. Get in touch with your financial adviser, or if you don’t have one, fill in our online form and we’ll show you how.

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