LSF-clean-dirty-water-AF-CUAbout 780 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water1 and every 21 seconds, a child dies from diarrhea2. One of the major barriers to large-scale safe water provision is the 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 LifeStraw® Carbon For Water™ programme offers an innovative solution to the water crisis. It uses carbon financing to sustainably provide 4 million people in Kenya with the ability to treat water in their homes for ten years. It doesn’t cost the government or aid donors anything and it is designed to be replicated in other appropriate settings.   



1Estimated with data from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2012). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2012 Update.

2Estimated with data from Diarhhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done. UNICEF, WHO 2009. 

  • Prior to the LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™ programme, less than 10 percent of Kenyans in Western Province had access to piped water. The majority of Western Province consists of rural homes spread across farm land and, because of the high expense of reaching these areas, the government estimates that the majority of the Province will not have piped water within the next ten years.

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    Consistent access and cost have been major barriers for other water treatment methods both in terms of firewood for boiling and other household treatment methods available for purchase.

    Other projects to improve access to drinking water such as the construction of sheltered springs, boreholes and pumps, do not adequately address the contamination that can occur during transportation to homes or from inadequate storage once in the home.

    By providing households with LifeStraw® Family water filters and complimentary health and hygiene education as well as instructions on safe storage, Vestergaard has enabled households to treat their water within the home, cutting down on the risk of contamination and subsequent illness.


    LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™ has had an impact in many areas.

    • Delivers safe drinking water to 4 million people for 10 years to help reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases.
    • The largest private sector household level water treatment program in developing countries.
    • Financing model overcomes challenges of sustaining public health programs with traditional, limited public sector funding.
    • Links payment to performance - carbon credits are not issued until compprehensive audits certify the percentage of households using the filter and volume of water being treated.
    • Based on survey data, over 90 percent of households using the LifeStraw® water filter report savings from reduced medical expenditure and/or having to spend less money on fuel for boiling.
    • Addresses four UN Millennium Development Goals: reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat diseases; and ensure environmental sustainability. 
    • The first program to directly link carbon credits with safe drinking water. It’s also unique in that emission reductions go beyond a single point source.
    • A blueprint for initiatives to derive income from market-based emission reductions and results-based health outcomes.
    • cycle Vestergaard developed and launched LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™ in the spring of 2011 when close to 880,000 LifeStraw® Family water filters were delivered to 91 percent of all households without access to safe water in Kenya’s rural Western Province.
    • Each filter treats at least 18,000 litres of water, making it safe to drink, based on US EPA standards. This is enough water for a family of five for at least three years.
    • Vestergaard invested over USD30 million to launch LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™. The company expects to recoup its investment and sustain the program using carbon financing. This funding model gives companies potential revenue in the form of marketable carbon credits for sponsoring programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.
    • The programme earns carbon credits because the LifeStraw® Family filter eliminates the need to boil water for treatment. As a result, it reduces current and future emissions that arise from the practice of burning wood to boil water.
    • Monitoring by an accredited independent auditor takes place every 6-12 months to verify use of the filters and emission reductions. Carbon credits are only issued after each verification.
    • Carbon credit financing is a pay-for-performance business model whereby revenue is only obtained once program indicators, such as the number of people using the technology and the quantity of water used for health related purposes, are certified by the international auditors.
    • To make sure that the water filters are operating effectively, Vestergaard has established 32 repair and replacement service centers throughout the area. TThe programme also employs 46 full-time staff members to work at the service centers, provide ongoing community education and training, and ensure that the program is fully integrated into the local communities.
    • The programme was funded by Vestergaard and is implemented in partnership with Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and through collaboration with several other ministries including the Ministry of Education and the National Environment Management Authority.
    • Vestergaard contracted with  Manna Energy Limited to develop the carbon finance component, and DNV, an UNFCCC accredited international auditor, was contracted to validate the project.  ERM CVS, another UNFCCC-accredited auditing firm, was contracted to audit the program and database and produce verification reports. ClimateCare served as lead author for the water methodology used in this program and is now marketing and selling the program’s carbon credits.
    • The program is registered with the Gold Standard Foundation which facilitates sustainable carbon projects that have direct impact on development outcomes.
  • LifeStraw® Family water filters formed the backbone for the LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™ campaign through which 880,000 filters were delivered to provide 4 million people with sustainable access to safe drinking water.

Malaria Research

IR Mapper is a tool that maps insecticide resistance. It consolidates reports of insecticide resistance in malaria mosquitoes onto filterable maps to inform vector control strategies.


Buy LifeStraw®

For consumer purchases, visit Buy LifeStraw® to find a local retailer. For each consumer purchase, one school child in Africa will receive clean water for an entire school year. For large quantities purchased for public health settings, contact us


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