Four Million Rural Kenyans to Get Safe Drinking Water Thanks to New LifeStraw(R) "Carbon For Water(TM)" ProgramBy Vestergaard Frandsen, PRNE
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Carbon Financed Project Will Provide Safe Drinking Water for 10 Years thanks to an Innovative Way to Finance the Reduction of More than Two Million Tons of Carbon Emissions Annually
KAKAMEGA, Kenya, April 25, 2011 - Close to one million LifeStraw(R) Family water filters will be donated
and installed in households in the Western Province of Kenya beginning on 26
April 2011. The province-wide, door-to-door, free distribution program will
last five weeks and will reach about 90 percent of all homes without access
to safe municipal water sources. It will provide at least ten years worth of
safe drinking water for Kenyan residents and do so without any cost to local
residents, governmental agencies or donor groups.
Vestergaard Frandsen fully funded the "Carbon For Water(TM)" program (see
www.carbonforwater.com), which will be reimbursed with carbon
financing. This unique funding model gives companies in developed countries
potential revenue, in the form of carbon credits, for sponsoring programs
that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. Carbon credits
can then be sold to carbon credit buyers that want to reduce their carbon
footprint or improve their environmental stewardship. The revenue generated
will largely be reinvested into the project to make it sustainable for at
least ten years.
Putting Carbon Financing to Work
Each LifeStraw(R) Family water filter delivers at least 18,000 liters of
U.S. EPA-quality drinking water, enough to supply a family of four with safe
drinking water for at least three years. Kenyans who receive them will no
longer have to treat water by boiling it using wood fuel, which generates
greenhouse gasses. This behavioral change is expected to produce more than
two million tons of carbon emission reductions annually.
Vestergaard Frandsen is making the initial investment of more than USD$25
million needed to launch the program. "Start-up costs are especially steep
considering the need to manufacture and transport 900,000 LifeStraw(R) Family
water filters to a rural community hundreds of miles from a major port, and
to hire and train more than 4,000 community health workers and 4,000 drivers
to distribute and educate residents on proper usage of the water filters,"
explained Mr. Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen.
"Longer term, the company will employ hundreds of Kenyans for at least ten
years to maintain more than 30 repair and replacement centers that will be
set up throughout Western Province, and to provide ongoing community
The "Carbon For Water(TM)" program holds the potential for long-term
sustainability of a point-of-use water purifiers program. "This is one of the
largest water treatment projects ever done without government or public
sector funding. It will also be the first that directly links carbon credits
with safe drinking water," observed Dr. Evan Thomas of Manna Energy Limited
which partnered with Vestergaard Frandsen to develop the carbon finance
architecture and smartphone informed database. The "Carbon For Water(TM)"
program will be coordinated in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Public
Health and Sanitation.
While Africa is considered among the most at-risk areas for climate
change, less than 5% of carbon projects are based there. The "Carbon For
Water"(TM) program makes a very important correction to the imbalance that
exists in the global carbon market. This is important because environmental
experts believe that it's preferable to encourage a country to build
environmental protection into long-term development plans, rather than force
them to clean up after industrialization has occurred and negatively impacted
the health and environment. The program can combat disease and insure
environmental sustainability by reducing the use of wood and other fuels for
cooking fires and removing tons of carbon from the atmosphere. This should
make the "Carbon For Water"(TM) program a key element in achieving the United
Nation's Millennium Development Goal #7 on sustainability and access to safe
As the supplier of the water filters, Vestergaard Frandsen will earn the
carbon credits. Since the company only gets paid for the performance of the
water filters in reducing emissions, it has a strong incentive to invest the
revenue it earns back into the program - to maintain and replenish the
LifeStraw(R) Family water filters and to educate residents on proper and
Vestergaard Frandsen has received ongoing collaborative support for the
"Carbon For Water Program(TM)" from the United Nations Development Programme.
In February 2011, after a rigorous validation process, the program was
approved as a voluntary project under the prestigious Gold Standard
Once the program is operational, monitoring by an accredited independent
auditing agency will take place every six months. The auditor will verify
that the emission reductions are accurate, and carbon credits will only be
issued after each verification.
The Worldwide Water Crisis
"Innovative and sustainable solutions to the global water crisis are
critically important," explained Mr. Vestergaard Frandsen. According to 2010
World Health Organization data, almost 1 billion people in the world lack
access to safe drinking water. Diarrheal disease is the second leading cause
of death in children under five years old, and is responsible for killing 1.5
million children every year. Children who are malnourished or have impaired
immunity are most at risk of life-threatening diarrhea. "We are hopeful that
the "Carbon For Water(TM)" program will also have a positive impact not only
on diarrhea disease but also reducing respiratory disease by reducing
particulate matter in the homes, a major killer of children in Kenya and the
developing world," added Mr. Vestergaard Frandsen. According to the WHO,
pneumonia is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide.
"The use of the LifeStraw(R) Family water filter can reduce child
mortality and improve maternal health by providing access to safe drinking
water. When considered in these terms, access to safe drinking water from
LifeStraw(R) Family can effectively address Millennium Development Goals 4,
5, and 6."
Every year, pneumonia kills an estimated 1.6 million children under the
age of five years, accounting for 18% of all deaths of children under five
years old worldwide. Environmental factors, including indoor air pollution
caused by cooking and heating with biomass fuels such as wood, increase a
child's susceptibility to pneumonia.
"If the "Carbon For Water(TM)" program can become a model for
significantly reducing diarrhea and respiratory diseases it will be a home
run for the people of Kenya and many other developing countries for achieving
MDGs 4,5,6," concluded Mr. Vestergaard Frandsen.
"Point-of-source solutions are often not completed because of
bureaucratic gridlock or break down due to a lack of maintenance.
Point-of-use solutions, such as LifeStraw(R) Family, are widely seen by
academic researchers as the most effective intervention to deliver safe
drinking water," Mr. Vestergaard Frandsen added.
The program targets four of the eight UN Millennium Goals including: Goal
4: Reduce child mortality; Goal 5: Improve maternal health; Goal 6: Combat
diseases; and Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability. It is also aligned
with the U.S. Strategy for Meeting the MDGs which states that successful
programs must address the need for sustainable development and create a
strong link between cost-effective investment and measurable impact.
Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) is a European company specializing in disease
control products. VF operates under a unique Humanitarian Entrepreneurship
business model. This "profit for a purpose" approach has turned corporate
social responsibility into its core business of creating life-saving products
for the developing world. Strong support of the MDGs is a defining
characteristic of the company. Its products are designed to prevent
waterborne, vector-borne and neglected tropical diseases. For more
information about the company please visit
Contact: Peter Cleary, Vestergaard Frandsen Communications Director Phone +1-347-653-5857 or email@example.com
Tags: Africa, April 25, Kakamega, kenya, Vestergaard Frandsen