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Photo of a group of people outside cooking

Image credit: EarthSpark

University research project announced as finalist for the 2021 Green Gown Awards

The Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme has been shortlisted for the ‘Research with Impact – Institution’ category at this year’s Green Gown Awards.

The awards were established in 2004 to recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector.

Being shortlisted is recognition of the important work the MECS programme and its partners are doing in generating evidence that it is transforming the debate on clean cooking by promoting an alternative, clean and affordable solution to reach the four billion people without access to modern cooking energy. Their work contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 of ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” and “universal access to modern energy cooking services”.

More specifically, the programme has led to the following environmental and social impacts:

  • Environmental: Scaling up access to modern energy cooking services through research and innovation has led to the reduction of carbon emissions related to biomass cooking. New innovations such as the use of metered carbon monitoring for energy-efficient cooking appliances, in collaboration with ClimateCare, has the potential to contribute to this end.
  • Social/Gender equality: Empowering women through the transition to clean cooking is integral to MECS activities. For example, an electric cooking (eCooking) project led by MECS-LEIA Challenge Fund awardee EarthSpark in Haiti has resulted in positive changes to the day-to-day lives of women by reducing the time burden associated with traditional biomass-based cooking practices.
  • Technological: The programme has invested in innovations in business and market development and products including through the Challenge Fund. Examples of these technologies include the eCooking Power Stations developed by CREST, offering a cost-efficient solution to communities to shift from biomass to eCooking on a meal-by-meal basis. The recently published Global LEAP Awards for Electric Pressure Cookers, funded by MECS and CLASP, will contribute towards more innovative solutions to scale the global eCooking market across Africa and Asia.

The winners of the Green Gown Awards will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in November.