Image: A school girl walks past the New LifeStraw Water Purifiers installed at her school. Credit Jaguar Land Rover.

Investing in Smart Technology

By Rhiannon Szmigielski, ClimateCare

Investing in Smart Technology

Luxury car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover invests in smart technologies and innovations which are key to its long term success and this focus extends far beyond building better-performing vehicles. The company recently won a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development for reducing the environmental impact of its vehicles and operations and has set an ambitious target to create opportunities for 12 million people globally by 2020.

To help achieve this, Jaguar Land Rover will invest in smart technology projects, delivering positive impacts to communities across some of the 170 countries it operates in.

“As a responsible business which is pioneering new technologies and innovations to reduce the impact of our vehicles, it makes sense for us to invest in new technologies which are tackling other sustainability issues around the world. These ambitions are embedded into the core of our business.” explained Nigel Clarke, Operations Director of Jaguar Land Rover Sub-Saharan Africa.

As part of this global programme Jaguar Land Rover recently announced a new project with sustainability experts ClimateCare and global health company Vestergaard which will provide safe drinking water to schools across the Bungoma region of Kenya. The project, which uses award winning LifeStraw water purifying technology, will help improve the health, education and employment prospects of 300,000 children.

But technology is only half the story. The teams at Jaguar Land Rover, ClimateCare and Vestergaard have pooled their expertise to create a programme that will create long term behaviour change. Project workers visit each school to set up LifeStraw water purifiers, train teachers and students in their use and explain the importance of safe water. This local team will continue to visit every school once a term for five years, monitoring the use of the LifeStraw purifiers, re-iterate training and provide an ongoing repair and maintenance service.

The ongoing education and training programme is as important to making the project a success as the provision of the technology itself” says ClimateCare’s Naomi Hicks, who helped put the project together and was on the ground to help oversee the initial distribution and education programme.

Photo: Calbe Wafula, pictured is 14 years old and lives in the dormitory at his school where water comes from a local bore hole. He has previously been hospitalised with typhoid and is now one of the first children in the region to benefit from a new LifeStraw Community Purifier at school, thanks to the Jaguar Land Rover programme. (Credit Kate Holt)

Jaguar Land Rover used the launch of the project as an opportunity to engage employees across the business with its Global CSR programme. They selected seven employee volunteers to go to Kenya, and help distribute LifeStraw purifiers to the first 19 schools.

Jaguar Land Rover hope that this opportunity for their colleagues to get hands on with the programme will encourage them to become sustainability ambassadors who will go back into the business, share what they have learned and inspire others to get involved.

At first I was sceptical, but coming to Kenya has really shown me what a difference our CSR projects are making to communities” says Lis Ace, a Project Manager at Jaguar Land Rover who helped with the initial LifeStraw filter distribution. “The children here have access to unsafe water which is making them sick and they have no choice but to drink it anyway – and that has really taken my breath away. We’re using smart technology to save and change people’s lives – that’s something really worth doing.”

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