The Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) based in South India picked up the International Gold Award for providing a fantastic example of how ethically managed microfinance can deliver sustainable energy to the poor. It has been awarded a prize of £40,000 to expand its work further.

The four other international winners were: GIZ/INTEGRATION (Afghanistan); iDE/Hydrologic (Cambodia), IBEKA (Indonesia) and Barefoot Power (Africa).

Winner of the Ashden 2012 UK Gold Award and a cheque for £20,000 was the National Trust, which has shown that if huge energy savings can be achieved in historic listed buildings, they can be achieved in any building.

The four other UK winners were: Student Switch Off; Energy4All; the University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM) and Parity Projects.

This year’s awards also included the first ever Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel, with the City of Ghent in Belgium and UK car-sharing website showing that sustainable travel can be fun, friendly, healthy and green.

Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director of UNIDO and Chair of UN-Energy presented awards to international winners. In his keynote speech he urged governments around the world to increase their support for clean energy pioneers: “The Ashden 2012 winners are exposing the myth that poor countries cannot stimulate growth without degrading the environment. They are demonstrating that sustainable energy stimulates green growth and new jobs, lifts people out of poverty, improves health and opens up new educational opportunities.”

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director of Ashden said: “In this uncertain world our winners offer a beacon of hope, showing that access to sustainable energy offers a clear route out of poverty for millions of people around the world. We’re committed to sharing the lessons they have learned so they can be replicated far and wide.”

Writer and broadcaster Kevin McCloud presented awards to our UK winners. He said: “Among all the weapons in our armoury in the fight against climate change, the Ashden Awards is a powerful one. By celebrating human change – in how we live, how we travel, how we build and maintain our homes, how we invest – it shows us what’s possible for us all to achieve.”

Runners up for the International Award were: WindAid (Peru) and MyShelter (Philippines).

Runners up for the UK Award were: Ellergreen Hydro, Perdiswell Primary School and Selwood Academy.

Runners up for Ashden Eurostar Award for Sustainable Travel were: TaxiTub (France), Octpus Plan (Belgium), Cycle Exeter (UK) and Cycle Cambridge.