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The d.light solar lantern and mobile
charger is an example of a product that can both improve lives of more than 1bn
people while also contributing to a sustainable environment.
In 2010, the British Museum/BBC
History of the World in 100 Objects' created a stir when the
d.light S200 solar lantern and
mobile charger was selected as the 100th object. On the list, some 1.2m years
separate the Olduvai handaxe, man's first tool to control the environment, and
the solar powered lantern that can impact billions of lives.
Leo Johnson, partner, at
PwC's sustainability and climate change practice in London, says the $10
d.light is a product that co-operates with the environment rather than
controlling it. An estimated 2bn people have no access to electricity and they
spend about $38bn annually on kerosene.
D.light was launched in 2008 and is the creation of
Americans, Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun.
The company has been funded by
venture capital firms and social enterprise funds from the Silicon Valley and
After living in
Benin through the US Peace Corps in a village without electricity, Goldman met Tozun at the Stanford Graduate School for Business.
attended a class
developing and testing simple solar-powered LED prototypes, which they
discovered helped provide benefits that would eventually shape their company’s
During this class, they studied the Southeast Asia Region and
discovered that energy and lack of lighting serious impacts people
living in this region. The benefits include cost saving, income generation, a
better study environment, healthier and safer homes, and reduction in carbon
Children can study after dark;
people without electricity can use mobile phones and health risks from pollution
and accidental fires are reduced.