ClimateCare kick-starts market for ethanol stoves with global potential to improve health whilst reducing deforestation and tackling climate change

ClimateCare is creating a new market for clean burning ethanol cookers in Kenya and helping an entire community leapfrog traditional development pathways, by making clean ethanol cookers affordable.

Shortlisted in the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015

The background

In Kenya, 68% of household energy comes from wood and charcoal, burnt on open fires and inefficient stoves. This causes air pollution and contributes to climate change.

Demand for wood fuel also leads to deforestation, devastates biodiversity, reduces habitat for endangered species and reduces carbon uptake by forests. Toxic fumes also have an impact, killing approximately 14,300 people in Kenya every year, and damaging the health of many more.

Ethanol fuel (made from molasses, a bi-product of Kenya’s sugar manufacturing industry) is a clean burning, renewable fuel, but ethanol cookers are out of reach financially for many families. As a consequence, there is limited accessibility of cookers and no distribution network for the fuel.

ClimateCare set out to help start the market for ethanol cookers and fuel. This meant selling cookers and ethanol fuel in tandem, creating distribution channels and marketing and selling the concept on the ground.

What did we do

Selected Safi International as a partner for the initial pilot project and identified Kibera as the ideal location.

Arranged investment from DFID and developed a financial model to subsidise initial stove costs and provide interest free loans through a Revolving Fund.

Set up a mechanism to manage loans through local Savings and Credits Co-operatives, who lend to members at zero interest, with a payback facility through the M-Pesa Pay Bill system.

The ethanol cooker chosen was extensively tested to ensure suitability and desirability for regular, domestic use.

This finance enabled the project to engage sugar factories to supply and bottle ethanol and create sustainable distribution channels in Kibera, Kenya.

Carbon reductions are measured and credits sold. Income re-invested in the Revolving Fund, will keep cost of cookers down and make the project financially sustainable.

We will measure improvements in indoor air pollution to gauge improvements on women’s health.

The result

Since the inception (November 2014) 1300 cookers have been sold, and feedback from retailers and consumers is excellent.

Initially, this project will reach 8000 families, but it has potential to scale across the developing world – improving health, tackling poverty and fighting climate change.

ClimateCare led the development of innovative funding for cookstoves in 2003, writing a methodology allowing carbon finance. Through this mechanism to date, it has improved life for 6.5 million people through cookstove projects and cut 2.6 million tonnes of CO2.

Now, with this project, it is demonstrating new financial interventions that can achieve even greater impact – using a revolving fund to support roll out of ethanol cookers is a first in Kenya. By creating a brand new market for ethanol stoves, this project has the potential to change the way people cook, for good.

The personal pitch

This innovative project is creating a new market for clean burning ethanol cookers in Kenya and helping an entire community leapfrog traditional development pathways, by making clean ethanol cookers affordable.

ClimateCare continues to develop the project on the ground and over the next year, it is expected to reach 8000 families. Beyond this, ClimateCare will continue to support the market through each stage of its evolution, bringing in new corporate and public sector partners until it is able to stand on its own two feet and deliver measurable benefits for the environment at scale and reach communities around the world.

Winning will acknowledge the work of our teams and partners. It will help us communicate the importance of innovation in financial mechanisms, and demonstrate this can drive sustainable development at scale. It will also help attract new investment to scale up.

Suppliers, contractors and solutions providers used

UK Department for International Development - The Department for International Development (DFID) is leading the UK Government’s fight against poverty. Through its Climate Change programme, it contributes to the overall UK International Climate Fund (ICF) objectives on low carbon and climate resilient development.

Safi International - a bioethanol stove and fuel company, designing, developing and manufacturing modern bioethanol cookers.

Umande Trust – a community trust in Kibera, specialising in both sanitation and micro finance, empowering members through access to new savings and credit facilities.

Links to relevant supporting material

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This article forms the Climate Care's submission into the Social Value category of the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015. It was written and submitted by Rhiannon Szmigielski, marketing director, Climate Care.