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Johnnie Walker: changing the world step by step

It’s Diageo’s aim to help people contribute to a brighter future. From Johnnie Walker’s Keep Walking Project came the powerfully simple Pavegen installation, which converts our footsteps into renewable energy.

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The idea behind the Keep Walking Project was to inspire people to take collective action towards a better world, starting close to home. Johnnie Walker invited people to vote for the pioneering project they wanted to see installed in their city. Voting took the form of donating ‘steps’ online to their favourite project. These steps include sharing videos, talking about the project or supporting it.

Steps for sustainability

More than 1 billion steps were collected overall, and the clear favourite of the shortlisted projects was Pavegen, which received more than 115 million votes.

Pavegen transforms everyday walking in the city into a way to generate electricity and power. Stepping on the special paving stones lights them up, and generates kinetic energy.

The interactive, people-powered light installation appeared in three markets where Pavegen received the most steps, including Athens, Greece, which gave it 35 million. The installation was open to the public in Athens in early June.

What could be simpler than walking along an ordinary city pavement as a way to generate power? Laurence Kemball-Cook, mastermind of Pavegen, said, ‘Technology should inspire and make people think about how they live.’

Pavegen, and the Keep Walking Project as a whole, have inspired communities to think about the renewable energy solutions that might involve little more than just taking a few small but significant steps.