Hydrogen racing cars and finance for Europe’s net-zero cities: The sustainability success stories of the week

Published every week, this series charts how businesses and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their ‘Mission Possible’ across the campaign’s five key pillars – energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and sustainability leadership.

Across the UK and across the world, leading businesses, cities, states and regions are turning environmental ambitions into action. Here, we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.

ENERGY: Agreement struck for up to 4GW of low-carbon energy in Cameroon


The International Energy Agency (IEA) has tracked that the world added 50% more renewable energy generation capacity in 2023 than in 2022, and even faster growth is expected for the remainder of the 2020s.

But there is much work to be done to ensure that the Global South benefits from the transition, with clean energy finance currently heavily concentrated in China, the US and Europe.

Infinity Power, a joint venture between energy developers Infinity of Egypt and Masdar of the UAE, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cameroon West Regional Council this week. It states an intention to develop up to 4GW of renewable energy in the region by 2035.

Cameroon has seen a 27% increase in electricity consumption per capita over the last two decades, and has met this need primarily by expanding gas and hydropower. While the new portfolio of projects may include hydro, there are also options open for biomass, solar and wind. Infinity Power will also develop battery energy storage to manage the intermittent nature of renewable energy generation.

UN-Habitat will provide Infinity Power and the Regional Council with technical assistance including feasibility studies and advising on stronger governance for energy generation and distribution markets.

Infinity Power’s chairman Mohamed Ismail Mansour said: “It’s always amazing to invest in facilities in a new country, which feeds into our long-term ambition to operate in every country in Africa, and it’s especially important to be doing this on such a large site which could potentially use a range of technologies.”

RESOURCES: HelloFresh helps redistribute 10 million meals across London


It is estimated that 30-40% of all food produced globally goes to waste. This waste is contributing significantly to emissions, so avoiding waste where possible is an important climate solution. Done well, it can also contribute to addressing social issues including food poverty and poor nutrition.

This issue is just as salient in UK cities as it is in lower-income countries. One in five adults and one in six children across Greater London are estimated to regularly experience food insecurity.

With the dual aim of reducing waste and helping a good cause, recipe box giant HelloFresh works in partnership with The Felix Project, which provides redistributed food to those in need across the capital. The partnership recently announced the milestone of redistributing 10 million meals since 2017.

Meals are redistributed through The Felix Project’s network of more than 1,000 community organisations and schools. Most food goes to families struggling with in-work poverty.

HelloFresh UK’s chief executive Adam Park said: “There is enough surplus food produced in the UK to avoid food insecurity for everyone but unfortunately, much of it goes to landfill or anaerobic digestion. We’re incredibly proud to have worked with The Felix Project since 2017 to serve over 10 million meals to those who don’t have access to nutritious food, while also reducing food waste in the UK.”

MOBILITY: Extreme E prepares world’s first hydrogen racing series


Extreme E describes itself as a “radical” off-road racing series, whereby drivers take on some of the world’s most remote and challenging locations – including those at the frontlines of the climate crisis.

It is also radical in its exploration of next-generation low-carbon mobility technologies. After pioneering electric off-road racing, the series is now evolving into Extreme H, which will use hydrogen race cars.

The first hydrogen race car, called the ‘Pioneer 25’, was unveiled this week in London as the countdown begins to the maiden Extreme H season in April 2025. Manufactured by Spark Racing Technology, the car is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell from Symbio. The car will produce no tailpipe emissions.

Beyond the cars themselves, Extreme H’s goal is to transition to a model where 100% of the site’s energy demand is sourced from hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen should be created using wind and/or solar electricity to reduce emissions across the whole life-cycle.

JBXE Extreme E team owner Jenson Button said: “For Extreme E to be evolving into Extreme H is incredibly exciting and a brilliant step forward in such a short space of time for the series. To see racing of this calibre powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which will allow for even more racing with less impact, is remarkable.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: EU-backed plan to help 112 cities reach net-zero by 2030


An EU initiative supporting the rapid and deep decarbonisation of cities has this week launched a new hub to help catalyse investment.

The ‘100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission’ is supporting 100 cities from across the EU, plus a further 12 in other associated countries, to reach net-zero by 2030. More than 30 of these cities have already drawn up detailed plans to cut emissions from buildings and infrastructure and had them approved, including Lisbon (pictured above), Malmo, Lyon and Florence.

The Mission this week launched a new ‘Climate City Capital Hub’. It will leverage finance from national governments to attract private finance, providing blended finance options such as bonds and local investment funds. It will also help to group smaller projects, which may not be eligible for national government funding or attractive to private investors, together into investable propositions.

The European Investment Bank is set to collaborate with the hub to provide financial and technical advice to cities to help them implement their respective plans. Non-profit advisory body Bankers Without Boundaries will  also provide support.

“Historically, cities have not been significant partners for the private sector, but progress can be much faster if private capital is more involved,” said Bankers without Boundaries’ executive director Alison Lobb.

SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP: Lift off for Nigeria’s first Carbon Literacy programme


Pictured: Lagos Island

It is often said that climate progress is best made when decision-makers have a solid understanding of the science, plus the challenge and nature of reducing emissions. The Carbon Literacy Project was launched in the UK in 2012 to provide this education, and has certified almost 100,000 people worldwide to date.

This number is set to grow, because the Project has partnered with sustainable development advocacy organisation Green Waka to bring its programmes to Nigeria for the first time. Learnings will be taken from the 26 nations in which Carbon Literacy training is already being provided, with expertise on adapting to the local context taken from Green Waka.

Training will be available to people “from all walks of life”. The aim is to foster the foundation for “mass civic engagement” in delivering Nigeria’s long-term goal of a just transition to net-zero emissions by 2060.

“The renewable power that will drive Nigeria towards a net-zero future is that of its people,” said The Carbon Literacy Project’s co-founder and director of advocacy Phil Korbel.

“Urgent action on climate change is driven by facts agreed by the world’s scientists but this language sometimes needs ‘translating’ so that everyone becomes aware of its relevance to them, whoever and wherever they are.  This is what Carbon Literacy training does.

“It also enables anyone to devise their best action in such a way as to make it doable.  Imagining this happening across the largest nation in Africa is full of great potential and it’s great to be a part of it.”

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