RELX Group Environmental Challenge 2017 shortlist has been announced

19 July 2017

RELX Group Environmental Challenge 2017 shortlists four projects to bring safe water and sanitation to communities around the world. 

The RELX Group Environmental Challenge 2017 shortlist has been announced, highlighting four innovative ideas that provide sustainable access to safe water and improved sanitation.  Final winners will be announced at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden in August.  The first prize winner will receive $50,000 with $25,000 for second place. All shortlisted candidates will receive one year’s full access to relevant RELX Group publications such as the Journal of Water Research to help them advance their work.

This is the seventh year of the RELX Group Environmental Challenge and the shortlisted projects offer a range of affordable and accessible solutions to water and sanitation challenges in the developing world.

Dr Márcia Balisciano, RELX Group’s Director of Corporate Responsibility said, “We received inspiring applications from more than 25 countries, across six continents. The four shortlisted projects harness science and innovation and align well with our aim to benefit society through access to knowledge.”

The RELX Group Environmental Challenge prioritises solutions that are replicable, scalable, sustainable and innovative. They must also have practical applicability and involve local communities and other key stakeholders. 

The 2017 RELX Group Environmental Challenge shortlisted projects are:

  • The AEROPURIFIER, a brackish water desalination solution invented by engineer Juan Carlos Borrero that operates entirely using wind power.  It requires no external power source, chemical treatments or electronic components and produces 528 gallons of potable water per day for communities in the arid region of Colombia’s Guajira Peninsula.
  • eWater Pay a mobile technology based solution that allows the transparent and accountable collection of user fees to ensure sustainable maintenance of water systems, reduction in water wastage at taps and employment opportunities for local credit sellers and engineers.  A pilot phase provided 13,000 people across West Africa with a clean, sustainable source of water, reduced water wastage by 99% and enabled maintenance issues to be addressed within 6 hours.
  • UK-based NGO Excellent Development, pioneering the use of sand dams to empower rural, dryland communities in Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and India through access to clean water and the opportunity to grow more food to eat, store and sell.  Excellent Development are promoting sand dam technology as a means to address water scarcity in the world’s Drylands which account for 40% of the Earth’s surface by offering a way of both capturing and filtering water.
  • The SunSaluter, a low-cost system that combines energy and water purification in one device. A passive, single-axis solar panel rotator boosts energy output by 30% by keeping a solar panel oriented towards the sun throughout the day and improves consistent usage of the water purifier, generating four litres of clean drinking water per day.

Projects were evaluated by water and sanitation researchers and a panel of expert judges, including Dr Mark van Loosdrecht, Professor of Biochemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology and Valerie Labi, Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for iDE and founder of Sama Sama in Ghana, a sanitation social enterprise which uses a direct sales approach to increase people's demand for improved toilets.

To learn more, please visit the Environmental Challenge website. You can see videos of previous winning projects here, and details on RELX Group’s corporate responsibility agenda here.

Mirième Hill

Notes to Editors

About RELX Group Environmental Challenge
The RELX Group Environmental Challenge was launched in 2011 and is awarded to projects that best demonstrate how they can provide sustainable access to safe water where it is presently at risk and/or access to improved sanitation. Projects must have clear practical applicability, address identified need, and advance related issues such as health, education, or human rights. According to the World Health Organisation and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, 663m people were without safe drinking water, while more than 2.4bn people did not have adequate sanitation facilities in 2015. Poor access to safe water and sanitation contributes to health crises in many developing countries, and increasingly leads to violent conflict.

About RELX Group
RELX Group is a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs approximately 30,000 people of whom almost half are in North America. RELX PLC is a London listed holding company which owns 52.9% of RELX Group. RELX NV is an Amsterdam listed holding company which owns 47.1% of RELX Group. The shares are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX and RENX. The total market capitalisation is approximately £32bn, €36bn, $42bn.