Far beyond greenhouse gas reductions, efficient cookstove projects create health, environmental and financial benefits for impoverished communities.
Three billion people in this world still cook every meal over an open fire. As a result, families are spending vast amounts of time, money, and energy to gather and purchase fuel. Women and children are dying from the cumulative effects of smoke inhalation. Forests are disappearing as wood is harvested and collected, and massive quantities of greenhouse gas emissions are being released into the atmosphere every year.
1.9 million women and children die every year from lower respiratory diseases related to indoor cooking smoke. In fact, pneumonia from lower respiratory disease is the #1 killer of children under five years old globally.– The World Health Organization, 2010
In many areas of the world, women walk 10+ miles per trip and spend 30+ hours per week collecting wood, carrying 40 to 60lb bundles back to their home. And families who purchase fuel can spend up to 30% of their income on wood or charcoal.
The rural poor generate an estimated 25% of global CO2 emissions, more than all global transportation-related emissions combined.
—The Nature Conservancy “Saving Forests to Flight Climate Change”, 2010
In 2009, Bluesource co-founder Greg Spencer helped start The Paradigm Project, a venture designed from the ground-up to use carbon finance to solve these problems and improve the lives of millions while helping the planet at the same time. Paradigm began building an efficient cookstove manufacturing and distribution business in Kenya and other East African countries, and Bluesource began to talk to its offset buyers about the exciting new opportunity to co-invest in lives and the climate.
Replacing open fires with clean burning fuel-efficient stoves dramatically impacts the lives of families and reduces degradation of the environment. An efficient stove can drastically reduce a family’s dependence on collecting or purchasing cooking fuel. As a result, lives are saved, rapid deforestation is slowed, and greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced.
• Respiratory disease-related deaths and severe burns are significantly reduced.
• Women can reclaim up to 15 hours per week, which can be applied to other income-earning activities
• Fuel use is reduced by up to 50%, conserving trees and natural resources.
• Up to 15% of household income is saved increasing economic stability.
• Greenhouse Gas emissions are reduced by up to 70%.
In just a few short years of operations, The Paradigm Project has been able to provide hundreds of thousands of households with life-changing efficient cook stoves. Bluesource was able to pre-sell the first few years’ worth of offset generation, providing much-needed revenue security to the initiative early on. Since those early sales, Paradigm has become known by many in the carbon world as running one of the best efficient stove programs in the world, and like Bluesource, their offsets are known for their extremely high quality. Paradigm has also become a leader in monitoring the diverse range of social outcomes generated by its projects.