Vestergaard: New funding streams for development projects

“Working with ClimateCare made it possible for us to distribute water filters on a significant scale. Without their support to unlock revenue through carbon finance, we would have been unable to realize such significant emissions reductions or improve the lives of millions of people in Western Kenya.”

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO Vestergaard


The challenge

Close to 800 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water and a major barrier to large scale provision is lack of financing. The UN Human Development Report in 2011 noted that “The financing needed will have to be many times greater than current official development assistance…Closing the financing gap requires innovative thinking.”


The solution

The LifeStraw Carbon for Water programme – a unique partnership that unites Vestergaard’s state-of-the-art health expertise and ClimateCare’s Climate and Development knowledge.

Rather than seeking traditional government or aid funding, water filter manufacturer Vestergaard Frandsen funded the project start-up costs and distribution of LifeStraw® Family filters to close to 880,000 residents in rural Kenya. This US$30 million investment was made on the basis of an anticipated return over ten years from carbon financing.

Since its launch in 2011, the programme is already providing safe drinking water to nearly 4.5 million people in Kenya and has reduced carbon emissions by more than two million tonnes in one year.


ClimateCare’s role

ClimateCare developed the methodology that made carbon finance for water projects possible. Following this, we worked in partnership with Vestergaard, structuring finance for this world first project. The initial investment was made by Vestergaard and ClimateCare is responsible for the marketing and sale of the resulting carbon credits to international organisations who want to take responsibility for their carbon and water impacts. This generates revenue for the project and return for Vestergaard’s investment.


The Impact:

  • LifeStraw Carbon for Water is the first programme to directly link carbon credits with safe drinking water.
  • The programme is the largest household level water treatment project in the developing world to be implemented without government or public sector funding.
  • This financing model overcomes the challenge of sustaining public health programmes with traditional sources of finance, such as aid or grants from public sector or governmental groups with limited resources.
  • The innovative financing mechanism holds public and private sector organisations to greater accountability to ensure maximum impact. The programme links profit intrinsically to performance—a relatively new concept in the aid and public health sectors.
  • LifeStraw Carbon for Water is a scalable model that can be extended or replicated in different settings. The project serves as a blueprint for future initiatives to derive income from both market-based emission reductions and results-based health outcomes – thus providing dual income streams and greater project stability.


LifeStraw Carbon for Water is a partnership between Vestergaard and ClimateCare and is accountable to external partners.  It has a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Kenya, and works with the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation as the collaborative implementation partner.  Provincial and district public health officers have been involved in micro-planning, distribution and education campaigns. The Ministry of Education is involved at the provincial and district levels, to establish seminars on water safety for school children.  The National Environmental Management Authority has been a supportive partner.


Contact us on +44 (0)1865 591000 to find out how we can help develop funding streams for your project, or for investment opportunities.