A fridge for peace: young British inventor wins award

Emily Cummins spent a year in Africa developing her idea for a hand-held, sustainable fridge which uses a simple heat exchange to keep medicines or small food items clean, dry and cool. Then she gave the design plans away.

And her latest award – one in a long list – has recognized her efforts to marry business sense with moral purpose. She is an honouree at the 2010 Oslo Business for Peace Awards.

Emily Cummins, 23, has been inventing for years, having grown up experimenting with tools and materials in her Grandad’s shed. Among her products are a press down/squeeze out toothpaste dispenser for people with arthritis; a ball-mounted water carrier for developing countries; and the double-sleeve cylindrical fridge, which use evaporation from wet material clamped around the core to cool the inside.

She said: “My design philosophy involves a back-to-basics approach which keeps an eye on the past as well as the future and combines the best of both. I'm motivated by human need as well as sustainability principles.

“I refined my fridge during a gap year in Namibia and then decided to give away the design plans in townships across southern Africa because I wanted to enable as many people as possible to build their own fridges.”

The Business for Peace Foundation was founded in 2007 in the belief that socially responsible and ethical initiatives will stand the test as a business case and gradually, as the moral culture of corporations matures, constitute an integral part of modern business.

“The aim of these awards is to inspire business people worldwide to recognize the role of responsible commercial ethics in strengthening the business case, through a marriage of performance with higher purpose which leads to business worthy behaviour,” said Per Leif Saxegaard, Chair of the Business for Peace Foundation.

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