Deutsche Bank supports The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Toxic fumes from open fires or inefficient cook stoves inside homes are responsible for some 1.8 million premature deaths each year in developing countries.
A majority of low-income families in developing countries, over 3 billion people, use cooking fuels such as charcoal and firewood on an open fire, often within small homes. The resulting indoor air pollution is responsible for an estimated half a million deaths in Africa alone every year, 90% of which are children below the age of four. Burning these fuels contributes to deforestation and carbon pollution. Additionally, women and children waste significant labor and face severe personal risks as they search for firewood, especially near refugee camps and in conflict zones.
More efficient cookstoves and cleaner fuel offer a better alternative. A nascent global industry is forming to deliver these solutions, but market penetration has been limited by products falling short of customer expectations.
Recently Gary Hattem, president of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, joined up with Radha Muthiah, the executive director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and Jonathan Cedar, CEO of BioLite, an innovative producer of clean cookstoves based in Brooklyn.
A powerful partnership for innovative cookstoves
The Brooklyn-based start-up BioLite has responded by developing an innovative design technology. Its cookstove achieves the goal of reducing carbon and smoke emissions and fuel costs from everyday heating and cooking. It also does something no other stove on the market does, which is produce electricity. And for consumers without access to an electrical grid, a cookstove that can charge a cell phone is especially valuable. BioLite’s ingenuity extends to its business model, which connects two disparate markets. Its camp stoves, which retail for around $130, are targeted at affluent consumers in developed markets for recreational camping. BioLite is now investing that profit to develop cookstoves using the same core technology for developing markets, where they can save lives and improve quality of life as well.
Together with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Deutsche Bank’s Global Social Investment Group is establishing the $4 million Clean Cooking Working Capital Fund to finance early-stage ventures like BioLite with capital that is affordable and patient.
Clean Cookstoves and Fuels: A Global Perspective by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
“As a lender, we can tie our loans to some very clear covenants on not just financial performance but social performance as well.”