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Philips, Bank of America Announce Plans to Improve Global Access to Clean Cooking Technologies

Philips and the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation have partnered to improve access to clean cooking solutions in Africa by introducing clean and efficient household cook stoves to rural communities across the continent. Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) announced separate plans to raise $100 million to help provide clean cooking solutions to millions of people worldwide.

The Philips-SNV partnership aims to improve the health and wellbeing and income of rural populations while having a direct positive impact on the environment. It will include research, community education and access to financing for adopting clean cooking technologies.

For the last 3 years, Philips has invested in the design and manufacturing of an innovative fan driven cook stove that can improve the lives of those who rely on wood or biomass for their daily cooking. These specially-designed cook stoves can reduce smoke and carbon monoxide emissions by more than 90 percent compared to an open fire, reducing the health risks of indoor cooking. The cook stove uses pellets, wood or other biomass for cooking in a healthy, environmental friendly and fuel-efficient manner. Philips is testing different financing and go-to-market models to ensure that this solution become accessible to people that would not be able to afford them otherwise.

SNV has invested in research to learn which cooking solutions are the healthiest, most economical, user- and eco-friendly. The primary purpose of Philips and SNV’s partnership is to increase access to these products, as well as further research and promote clean cooking solutions.

Bank of America has experience in financing clean cooking solutions in developing countries; it financed CleanStar Mozambique in 2011, an innovative sustainable bioethanol fuel and cookstove venture that is displacing charcoal. CleanStar has already sold 35,000 clean stoves in Maputo, Mozambique. The bank arranged financing using compliance market carbon credits that helped to crowd-in equity and debt from investors.

Previously, Bank of America partnered with The Nature Conservancy to promote energy efficient cookstoves to reduce deforestation in Yunnan Province, China. The new partnership with GACC comes as part of the bank’s Catalytic Finance Initiative announced at the United Nations Climate Summit in September, which commits to catalyzing at least $10 billion of capital toward investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy access.

According to the World Energy, some 2.6 billion people still depend on traditional cook stoves or open fires for cooking and heating their homes, which have significant averse health and environmental impacts. Every week, 75,000 people – mostly women and children – get sick or die from inhaling smoke. Each day, 3.9 million tons of fuel wood are burnt, contributing to the daily loss of 200 km2 of forest. Although there are cleaner and more efficient cooking solutions available, communities in rural areas often don’t know the benefits of clean cooking alternates or can’t access or afford to invest in them.

Social enterprises such as Envirofit International are already developing and disseminating clean cook stove technologies aimed at reducing pollution and enhancing energy efficiency in developing countries. Last year, the company joined the UN-supported anti-poverty program Business Call to Action (BCtA), with plans to reduce greenhouse gases by 193,500 tons of carbon through the sales of 150,000 clean cookstoves across Kenya in within two years.

In 2013, Marks & Spencers (M&S) became the first major company to sign on to UNICEF’s carbon offset project, which aims to improve the health and lives of children, while drastically cutting carbon emissions, in developing areas. This year M&S kick-started the project by funding the manufacture, sale and maintenance of 40,000 fuel-efficient, low-pollution cook stoves by local entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. The new stoves are being sold to low-income families from over 2,000 villages across Bangladesh.


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