New finance for old (technology) problems? Saving the planet with better cook stoves
Across the world, almost 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuels such as fuelwood and charcoal as their primary energy source. The problem is that cooking and heating with these “dirty” fuels in their “dirty” devices emits pollutants that are hazardous to human health, the environment, and global climate. Although improved cook stoves (ICS) help everyone—they lower emissions, cut firewood use, and reduce forest degradation—the uptake of such stoves has been slow. We’ve been working to come up with a fix.
Research attempting to answer this question has mainly focused on the cook’s household, finding that factors such as income, education, and access to credit limit adoption and sustained use. But this demand-driven narrative ignores the other side of the equation: the producers and distributors. Increasing awareness by both practitioners and the policy community has led to growing calls for a new focus on stove supply barriers and innovative policy tools to increase ICS sales.