19 April 2023 – Today, YPO, the global leadership community of more than 34,000 chief executives in 150 countries, announced that Greg Murray, Co-Founder and CEO of KOKO Networks, is the recipient of the organization’s 2023 Global Impact Award. KOKO Networks is a Kenyan-based climate-tech company tackling deforestation and carbon emissions caused by using charcoal as cooking fuel in urban homes.
The YPO Global Impact Award is YPO’s highest honor to members that recognizes their impact outside of YPO, celebrating CEO impact that is both sustainable and scalable.
“Greg and KOKO Networks are paving the way with their innovative approach to combating deforestation and improving the health of Kenyans, finding technology-based solutions that benefit not only the environment but also millions of consumers,” says Thayer Smith, CEO of YPO. “He is an inspiration within our YPO community and beyond.”
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), charcoal, the dominant fuel used for cooking in urban Africa, is the main driver of deforestation on the continent. Indoor air pollution from burning charcoal causes hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, primarily children under 5 years old, from pneumonia and acute respiratory infections. This pollution is the equivalent of breathing in four packs of cigarettes a day. Murray and his co-founders, Sagun Saxena, Micael da Costa and Nicholas Stokes, set out to tackle this problem through designing and launching a new technology-driven industry that could rapidly transition countries away from charcoal dependence.
By providing consumers with a superior solution that is significantly less costly than charcoal, KOKO is scaling rapidly, with over 10,000 new households switching to its clean fuel and carbon platform each week. KOKO, which employs 1,800 staff across East Africa, India and the U.K., manages a network of over 2,000 high-tech KOKO Fuel ATMs located in corner shops in low-income neighborhoods, enabling customers to conveniently and safely access low-cost clean fuel within a short walk of home. KOKO Fuel is now used in the homes of more than 3.5 million Kenyans across six cities, reducing over 4 million tons of carbon emissions each year and protecting family health from the diseases caused by indoor air pollution. Carbon revenues are shared with households via lowering the cost of KOKO Fuel, making it affordable for even the poorest. KOKO Fuel is sustainable bioethanol produced in East Africa from molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, delivering increased incomes to farming communities.
Murray says, “We are honored to receive YPO’s 2023 Global Impact Award. Ten years ago, we developed an ambitious plan to harness technology, infrastructure and carbon markets to drive energy transition and forest protection at a scale and pace that is meaningful. We are just getting started – there are over a billion people across 60 low-income tropical forest nations who are charcoal dependent and need our networks. We have about 15 years to turn the tide on tropical deforestation, and it simply can’t be done without tackling the main commodity demand drivers and giving the forests the space to regenerate. KOKO is a scalable new tool in that fight.”
Murray was selected from honorees representing YPO’s regions around the world.
YPO Global Impact Award Regional Honorees
- Shadi Bakour, Co-Founder and CEO of Path (Pacific U.S.)
- Eric Braverman, Founding CEO of Schmidt Futures (Northeastern U.S.)
- Kenneth C.M. Lo, Founder of O-Bank (North Asia)
- Luis Javier Castro, Founder of Alejandría (Latin America)
- Daniel Epstein, CEO of Unreasonable Group (Western U.S.)
- Renat Heuberger, Founding Partner and CEO of South Pole (Europe)
- Jonathan Huy Tran, Chairman of Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) (Southeast Asia)
- Greg Murray, Co-Founder and CEO of KOKO Networks (Africa)
- Nicholas Reichenbach, Founder and Executive Chairman of Flow Alkaline Spring Water (Canada)
- David Reiling, Chairman and CEO of Sunrise Banks (Mid-America U.S.)
- Prashant Sutar, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Aryan Pumps and Enviro Solutions (South Asia)
YPO is the global leadership community of more than 34,000 chief executives in 150 countries who are connected by the shared belief that the world needs better leaders and that business can be a driving force for good. Each of our members has achieved significant leadership success at a young age. They lead businesses and organizations that collectively employ more than 22 million people around the globe and generate over USD9 trillion in combined revenue. YPO members come together to learn and exchange ideas to make a difference in the lives, businesses and communities they impact.
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