Philippines’ Coconets emerges winner of The World Challenge competition

The World Challenge – a competition established to highlight and reward outstanding examples of community enterprise and innovation – has been awarded to Juboken Enterprises from the Philippines. Its innovative solution to the country’s soil erosion problem, known as Coconets, receives a US$20,000 grant from Shell.

The event was filmed by BBC World for a programme to be shown globally on the channel on Saturday 3rd December at 0730 and 2130 GMT.

The contest is a partnership between BBC World, Shell and Newsweek: 12 projects were shortlisted and profiled on BBC World and in Newsweek earlier this year. A public poll saw more than 120,000 votes cast from all over the world, and Juboken emerged as the clear winner. Malta’s Edible Oil Company and Vanuatu’s Nguna-Pele Rechargeable Battery Project were both named as runners-up.

The prize was presented by Roxanne Decyk, Director of Corporate Affairs, Shell, at a special ceremony at the London Science Museum on Thursday night (17th). Receiving the honour, Justino Arboleda, founder of Juboken Enterprises, said: “I am thrilled to accept this award. To have won The World Challenge competition is a great honour for us and for our country, and we are very proud to have been recognised over so many other inspiring projects.”

Juboken Enterprises was established in the Philippines in 1995 by Justino Arboleda, an agricultural engineer, to combat soil erosion. He began to produce nets from the wasted coconut husks taken from Joboken's coconut plantations and used them to act as surrogate tree roots by holding loose soils together. This was quickly recognised as an eco-friendly solution to a developing eco-disaster. Coconets are now being produced at a rate of 30,000 square metres per month for markets throughout the world, and the success of the venture has improved the lives of more than 1,500 families in the Philippines.

Jonathan Howlett, Director of Airtime Sales, BBC World, added: “This competition has been extraordinarily successful, capturing the imagination - and the votes – of many thousands of BBC World viewers around the globe, serving to enhance the effectiveness of the developing relationship between BBC World and Shell.”

Roxanne Decyk said: “Shell is delighted to be involved in The World Challenge. What is remarkable about this competition is the passion and determination of the individuals involved. We would like to congratulate Juboken Enterprises, along with the runners-up and

finalists. Without their innovation and drive, The World Challenge would not have been such a success.”

For more information on any of the shortlisted finalists, including the two runners-up, visit

For further information contact:

Deeptie Sethi/ Neha Sharma Preeti Mehra

BBC World Genesis Public Relations

Tel: 91 11 2341 2672/73 Ext. 102 Tel: 95124 504 4999 Ext. 62

Email: Email:

Notes to Editors:

The Runners-up

The Edible Oil Company, Malta

Mediterranean cooking requires a lot of oil, and the millions of package tourists who double the population of the Western Mediterranean each summer expect to find fast-food outlets like those at home. But what happens to all that cooking fat? On the island of Malta, it clogs up the drains and eventually ends up in the sea. It’s a huge problem and the authorities fear that it might deter tourists.

In 2004, Malta’s largest producer of cooking fats and oils – the Edible Oil Company – came up with an elegant business solution. The first diesel engines ran on peanut oil, and so instead of cooking oil going down the drains, it would power specially converted diesel cars and lorries. Oil collection points are being set up all over the island, and the availability of biodiesel is helping the economy by reducing Malta’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, and reducing air pollution. To encourage more buyers to opt for the cleaner fuel, the government of Malta has made biodiesel tax-free.

Rechargeable Battery Project, Vanuatu

The tiny Pacific island of Vanuatu is run on batteries. It has no mains electricity supply and the 200,000 inhabitants must rely on batteries for all their electrical energy needs. Batteries are expensive and account for a large proportion of most families’ monthly incomes. They are also difficult to dispose of as they release acids and other toxic chemicals as they decompose.

In Vanuatu, most householders were in the habit of solving this problem by dumping their used batteries into the sea, severely damaging the island’s finest asset: its spectacular coral reefs. Chemicals seeping from the sunken batteries were poisoning fish and killing the corals themselves. Vanuatu’s Marine Protected Area Group decided to tackle the problem at source by encouraging villagers to use rechargeable batteries.

The Nguna-Pele Rechargeable Battery Project began by purchasing a powerful 60W solar panel, a battery charger, and 900 rechargeable batteries. In the powerful tropical sunshine, this is capable of recharging around 60 batteries per day. Charged batteries are rented to the population at a fraction of the cost of new ones. The benefits to the reef are already being seen – dead batteries are no longer found within the Marine Protected Area and battery-blighted fish populations appear to be returning.

Background information

BBC World, the BBC’s commercially funded international 24-hour news and information channel, is owned and operated by BBC World Ltd, a member of the BBC’s commercial group of companies. BBC World is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, and reaches 270 million households (128 million 24-hour homes) and more than one million hotel rooms. BBC World launched in its present format in 1995 and is funded by advertising and subscription. For further information on how to receive BBC World, download schedules or find out more about the channel, visit

Founded in 1933, Newsweek provides comprehensive coverage of global affairs, business, society, science and technology, and arts and entertainment. Headquartered in New York, Newsweek has 20 bureaus located in the US and around the globe, and the magazine appears in more than 190 countries. Newsweek publishes four English-language editions, and is the only news magazine with eight weekly local-language editions – Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and The Bulletin, which is published with Newsweek in Australia. Newsweek’s circulation is more than 4 million worldwide, with a total audience exceeding 22.5 million worldwide. Newsweek holds more National Magazine Awards, given by the American Society of Magazine Editors [ASME], than any other newsweekly. Newsweek is also online at

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