Clean water project in Africa gets carbon credits

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LONDON- A water filter project in Kenya has been awarded 1.4 million Gold Standard voluntary carbon credits, becoming the world’s first carbon-financed scheme to help households get access to safe drinking water, the companies involved said on Friday.

Swiss disease control technology firm Vestergaard Frandsen distributed more than 877,000 water filters in western Kenya, under its carbon-for-water programme last year. The project will be financed by the sale of carbon credits over a decade.

The filters meet World Health Organization standards in removing bacteria, viruses and parasites responsible for common diseases, without the need to boil water, Vestergaard Frandsen said. This results in lower carbon dioxide emissions, earning carbon credits from the Gold Standard accreditation body.

Each filter cleans enough water to supply a family of five for three years.

Waterborne illness causes missed opportunities in educational and economic development, and can result in death.

Vestergaard Frandsen will sell the carbon credits generated by the project to buyers such as companies that use them to help meet voluntary social responsibility targets, for example offsetting emissions from staff travel.

The Gold Standard is a certification standard for carbon emissions reduction projects and is endorsed by more than 80 non-governmental organisations.

Vestergaard Frandsen plans to replicate the programme elsewhere, such as in Indonesia.