Context Case Study - Little Sun

Evelyn Wan
September 24, 2020

At Context, we pride ourselves in our sincerity and devotion towards bridging the worlds of sustainability and aestheticism through a lens of ethical virtuism, and we strive to enable the success of brands who share this vision.

In a long-awaited case study featuring one of our most cherished partners, Little Sun, we break down the inspirational, humble origin story of what was once only a distant dream, but has since developed into a world-renowned sustainable powerhouse.

Their Mission

Founded in 2012 by internationally-renowned artist Olafur Eliasson, and his partner, solar engineer Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun is a smart, effective clean energy solution that aims to illuminate the 1.1 billion people living without electricity. In many developing countries, families are forced to rely on perilous, polluting kerosene lamps--notoriously known for their toxic fumes and immense carbon footprint--as their primary source of light. Little Sun envisions a world where access to clean energy is a universal right, and a global reliance on hazardous kerosene lanterns is non-existent. Alongside their affordable, clean energy solutions, Little Sun is a large proponent of climate education, and has actively voiced and manifested their goals to further broaden the reach of climate awareness through countless solar workshops and educational programs.        

Little Sun has also earned the recognition of several esteemed sustainable organizations such as the United Nations, who have praised their strong efforts and close alignments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.Their emphasis on decreasing poverty, expanding access to quality education, improving gender equality, providing affordable and clean energy, and protecting the environment, reflects many of the themes echoed in the UN’s ambitious sustainable plan and has earned acclaim and approval worldwide. In light of his consistent, climate-driven track record, Eliasson has been named the latest UN Development Program Goodwill Ambassador, a title which will undoubtedly aid in the advancement and dissemination of Little Sun.


Since it’s initial launch in 2012, Little Sun has made tremendous strides within the realm of clean energy, transforming over more than two million lives. On top of the millions of lives now illuminated, their global efforts have also witnessed over $130 million in saved energy expenses within off-grid households, 700,000 tons of CO2 reduced, and 36 million hours of educational study time for children living off-grid. However, as much as Little Sun is about the immense power of a single light, it’s also about empowerment.The profound benefits of Little Sun extends far beyond its ability to drown out darkness and illuminate, but rather lies in its deep-seated capacity to draw out potential and empower those never given the opportunity to discover the strength and fortitude they possessed. Little Sun aims to unveil the blinds to those who have never truly seen, and give them a chance to pave and forge their own future without the barriers of bleak lighting obstructing their path.


Little Sun’s mission to harvest the sun and illuminate the globe, goes hand in hand with their goals of ensuring a quality education for young children worldwide. The role that light plays in perpetuating structural disadvantages and systemic inequalities is rooted in its inherent capacity for growth, progress, and empowerment. Similar to how a plant’s growth and capacity for photosynthesis is entirely dependent on the extent and quality of it’s solar intake, the academic development of a child is wholly contingent on its access to reliable lighting, which is also the foundation required for proper studying and learning. Little Sun has made tremendous efforts to ensure a quality education for every one of their recipients through various interactive programs such as Power To Read, which is now run by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, as well the PAGES project which aims to improve the quality of education for young girls living in Afar.

What It Means For Context

Good lighting can illuminate even the darkest, most desolate environments, just as poor lighting can suffocate and drown out even the brightest, most resilient voices. Our lives are continuously shaped and molded by the quality and extent of the light imbued within our every days, which is precisely why we actively partner with like-minded organizations such as Little Sun.

Social responsibility lies at the heart of Context, and it’s why we’ve dedicated our brand to amplifying and educating people on the impacts of clean energy, while offering a way to “be the change”. ‍For every set of candles purchased, we provide clean, reliable solar to a family without access to electricity, and instill a voice of empowerment and agency to those who are willing to join our fight against climate change.  For us, clean, renewable lighting is a universal right and we are excited to continue to fight alongside our partners and ensure that the need for world wide clean, ethical lighting is met.