With Citi Support, Impact Carbon Connects Clean Cooking to Improved Health & Livelihoods
By Evan Haigler, Executive Director, Impact Carbon July 26, 2013 11:44 AM
Not many people are aware that nearly three billion people lack access to clean cooking facilities, with 95% of those residing in Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia. In fact, approximately four million people die each year from smoke exposure caused by cooking with dirty fuels.* The good news is that distribution of cleaner and more energy efficient products to low-income communities in emerging markets is already benefitting underserved families and reducing pressure on the environment. While new technologies continue to be developed, innovation in expanding awareness, distribution and financing of such products is also playing a critical role.
Since 2001 the Ashden Awards have been reinforcing this argument by highlighting ground-breaking green energy leaders. I'm very proud that Impact Carbon recently joined these ranks, having been awarded the 2013 Citi Ashden Award for Financial Innovation, with support from Citi Microfinance. This is an extraordinary validation of our organization's efforts to utilize carbon financing to increase energy efficiency, reduce harmful environmental impacts, and improve the health and household finances of families in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
In Uganda, one of Impact Carbon's main countries of operation, many households use charcoal as fuel for cooking. Unfortunately, charcoal production not only contributes to deforestation, but its use also produces harmful by-products which contribute to respiratory and overall health issues. The formula is simple: reduced charcoal use cuts greenhouse gas emissions and boosts health.
Efficient cookstoves pack a powerful punch for Ugandan households: they improve health by producing fewer hazardous by-products and save the average household US$125 per year - a significant sum in many emerging economies. In order to make these efficient cookstoves affordable and accessible at scale, Impact Carbon monetises the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as carbon credits, and then sells these credits to companies to offset their own emissions. By using carbon finance, Impact Carbon can also support local cookstove manufactures to improve processes and reduce costs.
Since 2007, Impact Carbon has worked with local business to sell 340,000 cookstoves, currently benefitting 1.5 million people and keeping 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere every year. Thanks to Citi and its support for the Ashden Awards program, we are receiving global exposure for our work, and the Award's monetary prize will help us to serve even more customers.
The Ashden Awards were established in 2001 to champion practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon usage, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people's lives. Since then the program has rewarded and supported more than 140 winners across the UK and the developing world. The Citi Ashden Award for Financial Innovation, supported by Citi Microfinance, promotes innovative approaches to financing initiatives that are making progress in transforming people's lives through sustainable energy, saving energy, or generating renewable energy in emerging markets. Last year's award recognized the work of SKDRDP, a microfinance institution in India.
*Source: Global Burden of Disease Study, 2010
*Tagged as: ashden awards, citi microfinance, impact carbon, carbon finance, clean cooking, cookstove, enabling progress, energy efficient, environmental impact, green energy leaders, health, innovation, livelihood, reduce greenhouse gas emissions