As a self-financing activity, LifeStraw® Carbon For Water is measured based on its ability to
reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions. Emission reductions result in carbon credits, each created
when the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon dioxide is prevented from entering the atmosphere.
Credits have a monetary value depending on the type and origin of the emission reductions produced
and current prices in the carbon market.
After the first six months, almost 1.4 million tons of carbon emission reductions were
realized. Annually, the activity is expected to reduce an estimated 2.7 million tons of carbon
The LifeStraw® Carbon For Water activity provides a number of interesting opportunities for
operational research, sustainability research, economics or cost efficiency research, and health
impact research. Health impact research is already underway and Vestergaard Frandsen is meeting with
world class researchers to design and develop further studies to measure various
LifeStraw® Carbon For Water is reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases. Preliminary
results show a statistically significant reduction in the odds of diarrhea, dysentery and severe
dehydration among under-fives whose households are exclusively using LifeStraw® Family water
LifeStraw® Carbon For Water can also reduce the incidence of respiratory illnesses. Pollution
from heating with biomass fuels such as wood increases susceptibility to pneumonia, especially among
LifeStraw® Carbon For Water helps to empower local residents by giving them an easy way to
produce safe drinking water. It also employs thousands of Kenyans in its semi-annual campaigns to
distribute the water filters and train recipients on usage. And Vestergaard Frandsen employs scores
to work at 32 repair and replacement centers throughout the province and as district coordinators and
supervisors (on an ongoing basis). Forty-five coordinators and more than 150 community volunteers are
The major socio-economic contribution of the LifeStraw® Carbon For Water activity is its
ability to offer a sustainable, self-financed solution to problems that arise when individuals and
communities don’t have access to safe drinking water—namely interruptions in education
and income-bearing activities due to illness and the collection of fuel for boiling water. This is a
breakthrough, especially with regard to point-of-use water treatments.
Community members have been involved in the planning and their feedback is constantly solicited.
Also, to mitigate against the potential risk of under-use, Vestergaard Frandsen conducts ongoing
community education to remind residents about the importance of continually using the water filters
for optimal water
On a global level, LifeStraw® Carbon For Water can make a significant contribution to global
health by demonstrating that novel approaches to overcoming traditional financial limitations can be
sustained. Sustainable programs must be instituted to ensure that people have ongoing access to vital
public health interventions that can improve and often save
The current iteration of LifeStraw® Carbon For Water will sustain itself, eventually recouping
the US$30 million investment, and then generating profit, much of which will be reinvested back into
the activity over the next decade.
LifeStraw® Carbon For Water is a scalable model that can be extended or replicated in different
Larger iterations of the concept, currently in the planning phases, will require co-investment from
partners. Vestergaard Frandsen is discussing expansion of the concept with governments and private
investors in different regions throughout the world.
LifeStraw® Carbon For Water 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 activity stability.
This innovative financing model overcomes the challenge of sustaining public health programs with
traditional sources of finance, such as aid or grants from public sector or non-governmental groups
with limited resources. The financing mechanism also holds public and private sector organizations to
greater account, to ensure maximum impact. The activity links profit intrinsically to
performance—a relatively new concept in the aid and public health