Founders of Envirofit International Selected as Energy and the Environment Innovators of the Year by The Economist
FORT COLLINS – Tim Bauer, Nathan Lorenz and Bryan Willson, founders of Envirofit International, a company that delivers clean-burning cookstove technology to the developing world, have been named this year’s Energy and Environment Innovators by The Economist magazine, based in London.
The 10-year-old social enterprise, based in Fort Collins, Colo., was recognized for the global impact of its innovative technology and market-based delivery approach that pioneered the clean cookstove marketplace. Envirofit is the global leader in the design, development, and delivery of high performing clean energy cookstoves that that combat air pollution in developing nations. It has grown from its initial concept in the Colorado State University Engines and Energy Conversion Lab to a small pilot project in India with one stove, and from there on to become a worldwide company with multiple different models and 700,000 cookstoves sold across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
According to the World Health Organization, cooking over an open fire inside the home is the equivalent smoke exposure to inhaling two packs of cigarettes a day. Nearly half the world’s population – 3 billion people – cook over inefficient wood- or dung-burning open fires inside their homes, which contributes to 4 million deaths a year – more than HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
“Indoor air pollution is a scourge that affects millions of people, but gets far less attention than other forms of pollution,” said Tom Standage, digital editor at The Economist and chairman of the panel of 30 judges. “We are delighted to recognize the achievements of Envirofit’s founders in tackling this problem.”
Described as the “Oscars of Innovation,” the awards recognize more than innovative ideas, but also the commercialization and adoption of those ideas as products that can produce immense changes in society. Judges evaluate the nominees on meeting three criteria:
• Impact on an emerging branch of science, technology or business;
• Impact on revenue of the award winner’s sponsoring organization or enterprise, or on general economic or societal well-being; and
• Impact on a marketplace or the establishment of a new market.