Shell Foundation is an independent charity set up by Shell (Ticker: RDS.B) in 2000 to catalyze enterprise-based solutions to tackle global development challenges at scale and in ways that are sustainable. Shell Foundation pioneered a model that uses business thinking, patient grant funding and extensive business support to address issues such as access to energy, urban mobility and sustainable job creation. It has established several long-term partners that are achieving large-scale impact across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
On September 26, 2013, Shell donated an additional $6 million to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves at the Alliance’s third anniversary celebration in Washington, DC. This follows a $6 million donation for the organization’s inception in 2010. The Alliance is a public-private partnership founded by the United Nations Foundation, and aims to switch 100 million homes to clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020. It targets the market barriers that impede the production, deployment and use of clean cookstoves in developing countries.
Shell became a founding partner to make a positive impact on a global energy-related challenge, and is the single largest private-sector contributor to the Alliance. Shell’s also launched the “Spark Fund” in 2012, which provides grant capital to scale up enterprises that have the potential to transform the cookstoves sector. Its cash donations to the Alliance total $12 million.
Globally, nearly three billion people still cook food and warm their homes using solid fuels, such as wood or charcoal. It is estimated that daily exposure to smoke from open fires and basic cookstoves contributes to four million premature deaths each year, with women and children most affected. Furthermore, the time spent searching for wood and other fuels takes millions of women and children away from earning a living or attending school, and inefficient cookstoves contribute increased emissions of greenhouse gases and black carbon, or soot, to the atmosphere.
“Nearly half of the world’s population do not have access to modern energy that is safe, reliable and affordable,” said Hugh Mitchell, Chief Human Resources and Corporate Officer, Royal Dutch Shell plc. “Cooperation among business, government and society is essential to addressing such a large-scale challenge. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a strong example of how collaboration across sectors can help bring modern energy solutions to the developing world. Shell is pleased to continue its support for the Alliance to encourage the widespread adoption of cleaner, more efficient cookstoves and fuels.”
Envirofit, another cookstove pioneer, was established in 2003 and has sold over 600,000 cookstoves to date. The Fort Collins, Colorado based enterprise says it has improved living conditions for 2.5 million people. Its replacement cookstoves reduce toxic emissions up to 80%, climate change emissions CO2 up to 60%, and black carbon up to 40%. The stoves also generate savings for the consumer by reducing fuel consumption up to 60% and improve cooking efficiency up to 40%.
The replacement cookstove market is a very niche concept, and its funding is limited. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, as noted in the graph, has united and impacted the industry since its foundation in 2010. Funding has increased to $125 million from $11 million through the first three years of the Alliance, and has spurred expanded research on cookstove performance, marketing, and adoption; expanded research on the health, climate and air quality benefits of clean cookstoves; and expanded field efforts in Kenya, Haiti, Bangladesh, and Nigeria.
The movement is gaining traction on a federal level, and is supported by the State Department. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency launched a state-of-the-art cookstove testing lab in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and proceeded with testing of 20 cooking technologies and fuels, with evaluation of fuel efficiency and air pollutant emissions that affect human health and the environment.
Other groups, such as the National Institutes of Health, The Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging the testing of cookstoves and are monitoring its efficiency on health and environmental levels.
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