Why Global Citizens Should Care 
The UN's Global Goal 13 calls for climate action, while Goal 7 works to achieve affordable and clean energy for everyone. The UK's Department for International Development has achieved remarkable things in working towards both of these goals — and has committed to doubling up its support over the next four years. It will take governments working with individuals and organisations just like BBOXX to achieve the Global Goals. Join the movement by taking action here to raise your voice for urgent climate action. 

The UK has just released some really positive stats about the work that it’s doing around the world to help people access clean and reliable energy and prepare for the impacts of climate change. 

New figures, revealed on Tuesday in the International Climate Finance results published by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), show the “dramatic effect” that UK aid projects are having on reducing the impact of climate change, said DfID. 

In the last eight years alone, UK aid funding has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16 million tonnes — equivalent to taking 3 million cars off the road for a year. 

Meanwhile, UK aid has also provided 26 million people with improved access to clean energy — including those previously living without reliable electricity in the poorest communities in Kenya, Rwanda, and Malawi.

And it’s helped 57 million people to cope with the effects of climate change — from supporting farmers in growing climate resilient crops, to preserving water in areas facing an increased drought risk, to investing in systems to help protect communities that are vulnerable to extreme flooding. 

But UK-based organisations, that work alongside the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) in delivering this life-changing and life-saving work, are an absolutely essential part of the global effort. 

Just one of these organisations is London-based company BBOXX.

Based in Chiswick, in west London, BBOXX was launched in March 2010. Since then, it has helped nearly a million people in countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Togo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo — where the majority of people are living without reliable access to electricity. 

The three co-founders of BBOXX — Christopher Baker-Brian, Mansoor Hamayun, and Laurent Van Houcke — met at Imperial College London while studying electrical and electronics engineering. 

They founded a student charity, which helped demonstrate the potential for off-grid solar solutions in the developing world, and grew into what is now BBOXX. 

BBOXX essentially designs, manufactures, distributes, and finances innovative solar systems to improve access to energy in developing countries. 

Their customers, according to BBOXX, are typically located in off-grid rural areas — and most earn their living by farming coffee or vanilla beans on small plots of land, while others are fishermen. 

Customers in Kenya and Rwanda generally earn between $100 and $200 a month (£80 - £160), adds BBOXX, and spend about $8-12 a month on energy expenditure — like being kerosene, batteries, and charging their phones. 

BBOXX sells its systems to match these existing costs, it continues, and spreads the cost of a solar system out over time so that more people are able to access them — and to access clean, renewable solar energy. 

So far, the company has provided over 200,000 solar home systems to off-grid communities and businesses in some of the world’s poorest countries. 

“Technology and the positive disruption it brings is enabling us to unlock potential and improve the lives of many though access to essential utilities and services,” said BBOXX co-founder and chief technology innovation officer, Christopher Baker-Brian. 

“New approaches coupled with investment is crucial if we are to continue to move the dial on climate change and deliver on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” he added. 

Britain is one of the only countries in the world that has written its commitment to spend 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on aid — with DfID being one of the most effective and transparent spenders of aid on the planet. 

As well as the work it’s been doing on climate resilience, it also works to improve education, gender equality, health, and many more of the UN’s Global Goals. 

But, despite its life-saving work in these areas, the progress that’s been made globally in recent decades is under threat from the predicted impacts of climate change — which threatens to reverse progress on healthcare, education, women’s empowerment, and ending extreme poverty. 

This makes it essential that the world pull together now to tackle climate change, and mitigate its effects — which will be felt most severely by the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. 

“The World Bank estimates by 2030, 100 million people will be pushed into poverty by climate change unless we act now,” said Alok Sharma, the UK’s international development secretary. 

“Projects funded by UK aid are already making a huge impact, helping millions of people access clean energy and protecting our precious forests for future generations,” he added. “I am proud of our work, but there is clearly much more to do. And as the threat of climate change grows, impacting us all, including in the UK, there is absolutely no room for complacency.” 


Defend the Planet

This London-Based Organisation Has Helped Nearly a Million People Access Clean, Reliable Energy

By Imogen Calderwood