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Carbon For Water

July 8, 2011

Vestergaard Frandsen, a Swiss company, seems to have figured out a great way to help people and make money at the same time. The company will be distributing free water filters to people in Kenya who wouldn’t be able to afford them, providing 4 million people with clean drinking water. The company has invested $30 million in this project and the interesting thing is that they will probably get their money back many times over.

How exactly do you manage to give away a product and still make money? Well, we have to say it’s a very ingenious idea. You see, Kenyans usually have to boil their water in order to eliminate diseases, and the wood fires that they use to do this generate large amounts of carbon. A family who has a filter does not have to boil water anymore, therefore reducing its carbon emissions. So Vestergaard Frandsen’s filters are actually reducing the country’s carbon footprint and the company earns carbon credits for this. The company can then sell those credits to businesses in countries that have carbon caps and exchanges.

This Carbon For Water project will offset 2 million tons of carbon every year, meaning that the company will receive 2 million carbon credits. They have made a commitment for 10 years so they will end up earning about 20 million credits. Each carbon credit sells for somewhere between $6 and $12, so even at the lowest estimates, Vestergaard Frandsen’s $30 million investment will be a very lucrative one.

And while these filters are not the perfect solution to the water problem (women an children still have to spend part of their day collecting water from the source), they do increase safety, reduce the amount of time spent on these tasks, and free up the money that each household had to spend for firewood.

We think it’s a great idea.

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