Monthly Archives: April 2015

Zelda Bentham, Aviva: Delivering Business Value Through Smart CR

Speaking today at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves’ event in London, Zelda Bentham, Group Head of Environment & Climate Change, shares how Aviva derives business value by taking an integrated and business driven approach to delivering environmental and social impacts at scale.

At Aviva, we continually seek to maximise the long term value delivered by every element of the business, and our Corporate Responsibility (CR) programmes and investments are no different. Whether it’s work to future-proof the business against the effects of climate change, or delivering measurable social, environmental and community impacts, it’s essential we can demonstrate how this activity delivers measurable business value.

We are helped by the fact Aviva’s senior board acknowledge that action on climate change is fundamental to the long-term sustainability of our business, as climate change could make many risks uninsurable in the future. As a responsible investor, we also recognise the critical role we have to play in reducing emissions and delivering positive social and environmental impacts through our actions and investments.

We implement a robust CR strategy to deliver positive contributions to society and to communities and seek to minimise our environmental impacts as part of our commitment to help tackle climate change. We maintain a leading position in transparently reporting across a number of leading global indices, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, CDP and the FTSE4Good.

Within our CR programme, we have a carbon management strategy; taking responsibility for our environmental impacts and seeking internal efficiencies wherever possible. That includes investments in low-carbon technologies, internal energy & consumption efficiencies, and a target to reduce our emissions by 20% between 2010-2020 with a minimum reduction of 5% a year.  By the end of 2014 we far exceeded this target with a 32% reduction from 2010.

Yet internal actions and efficiencies can only take us so far and some carbon emissions are simply unavoidable; meaning we need to seek external emission reductions too, to continue our commitment of of carbon neutrality. That’s where smart carbon offsetting comes in.

Through our partnership with ClimateCare, we’re able to maximise the business value of our carbon offsetting activity, by making it part of an integrated Climate+Care programme. Here’s how.

Taking an integrated Climate+Care approach means delivering both positive impacts for  the “Climate”, by reducing carbon emissions, and delivering measurable “Care” or  social impacts ; whether that’s creating economic opportunities, empowering women, improving health or enabling access to education for example. Such impacts, delivered through our programme with ClimateCare underpin our overall business commitment to contribute effectively to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), build resilience and free people from fear of uncertainty, whilst all the while cutting emissions and playing a valuable role as part of our carbon management programme. The key lies in delivering multiple outcomes from single, smart interventions, coupled with robust measurement of the impacts delivered.


Zelda's Blog

Aviva have invested in the LifeStraw Carbon for Water project, which has distributed nearly 900,000 simple gravity fed water filters, removing the need to boil water on open fires. This saves money, reduces exposure to toxic fumes, carbon emissions and protects local forests.

With this in mind, we took a lead in reporting the full value of our Climate+Care programme; looking at the social and environmental impacts delivered and the value to our business. Working with ClimareCare’s experts, we’ve successfully measured the carbon reductions and the social value of our programme using the recognised LBG framework; it was the first ever application of the framework in this way, which has created a measurement blueprint for others to follow.

Now we’re able to quantify the social value, we can report this back to the business demonstrating that the wider value delivered by our Climate+Care programme compares favourably to our other community investments. In addition, independent reputation analysis shows that our Climate+Care programme directly contributes to Aviva’s positive reputation too.

Every business has its own challenges and targets. However in our experience, not only can a smart carbon offset programme cut emissions. If this budget is used wisely to fund integrated action, it can deliver an array of environmental and social impacts aligned with core business priorities and deliver measurable business value; bolstering reputation, enabling smart CR spend, engaging colleagues and demonstrating that we can be a good ancestor. It’s a message born of experience and one I felt compelled to share, in the hope it can inspire others and help them make the business case for action within their own organisations.


Zelda is Aviva’s Head of Environment & Climate Change and has worked in Aviva and its legacy companies for the last 25 years. She developed Aviva’s climate change and environment strategy and represents Aviva on various UN Environment Programme Groups. In 2006, Aviva became the first carbon neutral insurance group on a worldwide basis.


If you would like to learn more about how an integrated climate and development programme can deliver value for your business or to learn more about our Climate+Care Cookstove programmes, contact one of our experts today on +44 (0)1865 591000.

Please Vote: Nominations Open for Environmental Finance Survey

Environmental Finance Magazine has launched its Annual Survey of the Voluntary Carbon Market. These peer voted industry awards recognise those organisations offering outstanding services and we’d ask you to support ClimateCare by voting for us in the following categories:

  • Best Carbon Offset Retailer
  • Best Project Developer Overall
  • Best Project Developer Public Health
  • Best Trading Company
  • Best Advisory/Consultancy

Your vote will help us demonstrate that taking an integrated approach to tackling climate change, alleviating poverty and improving health through single projects makes sense – for business, people and the environment.

You can also nominate the Best Individual Project and Best Corporate Offset Programme. Here are some examples you could put forward, chosen for their scalability, innovation and impressive delivery of positive impacts for local communities as well as the environment:


Best Individual Project

ClimateCare’s work to kick-start a new market for clean burning ethanol cookers is saving lives and helping tackle climate change. Ethanol fuel is a clean burning renewable fuel that displaces wood and charcoal. ClimateCare’s pioneering Revolving Fund model is making new generation ethanol cookers affordable to communities that need them and has been hailed by industry experts, winning Environmental Finance’s Carbon Finance Transaction of the Year Award and nominated for a 2 degrees Champions Award.


Best Corporate Offset Programme

We’ve done some ground breaking work with our partners at Aviva who advocate our integrated approach to tackling climate change and improving lives. Working with ClimateCare, Aviva used the LBG framework to measure the social impact of their carbon offset programme – the first time that this has been done. Using this framework, Aviva is able to report that it has improved the lives of 395,000 people, whilst offsetting its unavoidable carbon emissions.


Your vote really will help us demonstrate that our approach – tackling climate change, alleviating poverty and improving health through single projects – makes sense for business, people and the environment. Voting Closes on the 8th of May.

Dialog help to deliver renewable energy with ClimateCare

Dialog-Semi-ConductorDialog Semiconductor has teamed up with ClimateCare to offset its operational emissions for the first time.  Corporate responsibility and a commitment to sustainable business practices are important to the Dialog business model and a central component of Dialog’s strategy to deliver long-term profitable growth.  The decision to offset with ClimateCare whose programmes not only cut carbon but also improve lives, is a simple extension of Dialog’s commitment to sustainability.

Dialog wanted to find a project which had resonance with its business and The Tajikistan Hydro project, which cuts CO2 emissions and provides reliable, renewable electricity to communities in a remote region of central Asia was the ideal candidate. The stunning Pamir Mountains of south-east Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan are known collectively as the Roof of the World. Today, residents of the region say that a light is being shone on the roof of their world, thanks to this complete overhaul of their electricity grid.

“Our product designs include a range of green IC solutions; we are actively working to minimise the carbon footprint of our business. Offsetting our residual footprint is a natural next step and we’re delighted to partner with ClimateCare to support the provision of renewable energy to remote communities in Tajikistan and over the border in Afghanistan.  It’s heartening to know that the Tajikistan Hydro project we’re supporting with our offset funds is providing hospitals, schools, homes and businesses in these remote regions with a reliable electricity supply.” Jean-Michel Richard, Chief Financial Officer.

Read all about Dialog’s approach to sustainability in their sustainability report.

If you’re interested in further information about how you can support this project please contact You can read more about the Tajikistan Hydro project here

ClimateCare Wins Carbon Finance Transaction of the Year Award

PRESS RELEASE:logo-climatecare1.gif
Thursday 2 April 2015


ClimateCare is delighted to win Environmental Finance’s Carbon Finance Transaction of the Year award, for a project that is kick-starting a new market for clean burning ethanol cookers that save lives and help tackle climate change. The award acknowledges its pioneering Revolving Fund model, something ClimateCare believes will act as a blue print for financing sustainable development projects around the world.

Speaking of ClimateCare’s award win, Radha Muthiah, CEO UN Foundation’s Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves said: “We’re delighted that ClimateCare’s work to develop innovative finance for clean cookstoves and fuels has been acknowledged with this award. Their work to kick-start a market for next generation ethanol cookstoves – which virtually eliminate household air pollution – has the potential to save many millions of lives. It’s exactly this kind of initiative that is needed to create a thriving global market for clean household cooking solutions that will save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and protect the environment.”

Jonathon Porritt, Founder, Forum for the Future said: “ClimateCare’s revolving fund model and cookstoves programme exemplify the real value that can be achieved from businesses collaborating with government to deliver innovative financial models at scale. This award-winning ethanol stoves project and DFID partnership is a leading example of new ways to finance sustainable development programmes, which both improve lives and tackle climate change.”


A New Market for Ethanol Cookers Will Save Lives and Fight Climate Change

In Kenya, 68% of household, primary energy still comes from woody biomass. The majority of this is burnt on smoky open fires and inefficient cooking stoves leading to air pollution and contributing to climate change. Demand for wood fuel also leads to deforestation, devastates biodiversity, reduces habitat for endangered species and reduces carbon uptake by forests.

Toxic fumes from these traditional cooking methods also have an impact, killing approximately 14,300 people in Kenya every year, and damaging the health of many more.

The UN endorses the provision of modern, efficient stoves (which reduce fumes and particulate matter) to address this issue.

Ethanol fuel (made from molasses, a bi-product of Kenya’s sugar manufacturing industry) is a clean burning, renewable fuel that cuts out indoor air pollution, saving lives. Using ethanol fuel also lowers greenhouse gas emissions – one ethanol stove saving 5 tonnes of CO2 per year, helping tackle climate change.

Whilst production of ethanol fuel might seem an obvious solution to household energy needs, ethanol cookers are out of reach financially for many families. As a consequence, there is limited accessibility of cookers and no distribution network for fuel.

ClimateCare, which has developed innovative financing streams for sustainable development for more than a decade, set out to address this and kick start the market for ethanol cookers and fuel. This meant selling cookers and ethanol fuel in tandem, creating distribution channels and marketing and selling the concept on the ground.

At least 8,000 families will benefit from the initial project, and as the concept is rolled out with new partners and in new locations, ClimateCare expect 50,000 people to benefit by the end of 2015. “But the overall impact will be much greater than this” explains ClimateCare CEO Edward Hanrahan. “Like many new markets, this one needs some help to pump-prime at the beginning. We expect the market to grow exponentially over time, as more people see the benefits and convenience of switching from woody biomass to ethanol. This will help create a steady, financially viable source of demand for the fuel and from there the market begins to function in its own right, bringing positive health and climate benefits at scale. To us, this represents true sustainability and as a profit for purpose business focussed on reducing emissions and improving lives, that is our ultimate aim.”



Photo caption: Judith Awino sells ethanol fuel in Kibera. This distribution chain for fuel creates jobs and as the market commercialises will be part of the value chain that makes the programme financially sustainable over the longer term.


What’s the Role of Carbon Finance?

Carbon finance provides a partial but vital part of the finance for this project, and Hanrahan sees this award as an acknowledgement that the role of carbon finance is changing; “Carbon finance still plays a vital role in these projects and represents the value placed on the abated emission. The Sustainable Development impacts are a separate output and their value should be considered as a separate element. However by blending these separate outputs we can provide more resilient finance for the project, whilst still monitoring and valuing the carbon reduction outputs. This project is prime example of this blended finance model and I’m delighted it has been acknowledged through this award.”



Picture Caption: ClimateCare’s Revolving Fund model.

The Revolving Fund was initiated using donor finance from UK AID. The fund is used to subsidise the price of ethanol stoves, making them affordable to communities. It also provides loans to assist purchase through local saving co-operatives, with a payback facility through the M-Pesa Pay Bill system. Sales of carbon credits top up the element of the fund that is reduced by providing the initial stove subsidy, allowing the fund to reach more and more people, and the project to grow. This Revolving Fund model is a blue print that ClimateCare is already rolling out across other projects.

ClimateCare has already had interest from several parties in purchasing the carbon credits from this project. The buyer will be playing an essential role in helping change the way people cook, for good – tackling poverty, improving health and protecting the environment.


Vote for this Project

This project has been nominated for a 2 degrees Champions Award under the Social Value category. Please show your support for this project by voting on the 2degrees website and help us demonstrate the potential for ethanol cookers to improve lives and tackle climate change.



Press Enquiries and Image Requests

Please contact: Rhiannon Szmigielski, ClimateCare
Tel: +44 (0)1865 591008


Notes to Editors

ClimateCare is a profit for purpose company. We believe that climate change, poverty and sustainable development cannot be tackled in isolation. And that we cannot rely solely on aid. Governments and business must work together to deliver the speed and scale of change required to secure a sustainable future.

That’s why, for the past 18 years, we have mobilised the power and scale of both private and public finance for integrated Climate+Care programmes, which deliver positive environmental and social impacts around the world.

We combine the vision of a social enterprise and the commercial experience of an investment bank. Leveraging mainstream funding, we profitably deliver some of the largest, most successful sustainability initiatives in the world. To date we have worked with hundreds of partners to cut over 16.5 million tonnes of CO2 and at the same time, improved the lives of 6 million people.

Businesses and Governments alike, see the value and sense in our integrated Climate+Care approach and we have set an ambitious vision for 2020. To cut a further 20 million tonnes of CO2 and improve the lives of another 20 million people.

Find out more at

Twitter: @ClimateCare


ClimateCare and Efficient Cookstoves
ClimateCare is a leader in the implementation of cookstove projects and was a signatory at the UN’s recent Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves Summit.

Nearly 3 billion people still cook their food and heat their homes with traditional cookstoves or open fires and 4 million people die prematurely every year from exposure to smoke from these cooking methods – more than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Improved cookstoves offer a simple solution, reducing indoor air pollution. They also cut fuel costs for families, create local jobs and help tackle climate change.

ClimateCare led the development of innovative funding for cookstoves. It wrote the first consolidated methodology that allowed carbon finance to be used to support clean cookstoves and was the first company in the world to fund an improved cookstove project through carbon finance. Through this mechanism to date, it has improved life for 6.5 million people through cookstove projects and cut 2.6 million tonnes of CO2.

Key supporters of cookstove projects include Jaguar Land Rover, who funded the first ever Gold Standard cookstove project through ClimateCare, and who have helped provide stoves to 832,000 families. The Co-operative and Aviva have also made significant contributions funding provision of stoves to 350,000 and 57,000 families respectively.

And if everyone already offsetting voluntary carbon emissions did so through a cookstove project, together they could help improve the lives of 432 million people, saving them £7 billion in fuel costs and generating £229 million of employment.


Partners in this Initial Ethanol Cooker Project

  • UK Department for International Development – The Department for International Development (DFID) is leading the UK Government’s fight against poverty. Through its Climate Change programme, it contributes to the overall UK International Climate Fund (ICF) objectives on low carbon and climate resilient development.
  • Safi International – a bioethanol stove and fuel company, designing, developing and manufacturing modern bioethanol cookers.
  • Umande Trust – a community trust in Kibera, specialising in both sanitation and micro finance, empowering members through access to new savings and credit facilities.