VIENTIANE, LAO PDR, June 2016 – Three years since its inception, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation has reached a major mile stone in Lao PDR by having sold 100,000 Improved Cookstoves. The program, initiated in 2013 by SNV,Oxfam and ARMI, and funded by EU Switch Asia, aims to introduce efficient cookstove models to the Lao market to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing consumption of cooking fuel, mainly wood and charcoal.
The Improved Cookstoves (ICS) not only have a significant impact on the environment; the project also builds a more exclusive market around this efficient and affordable technology. Through the program, local producers receive training and are now making more stoves that are more efficient and durable.
Their customers are saving on fuel costs and instead of having to buy a new stove every six months, the ICS lasts up to two years. Alongside local partners, the project promotes the stoves’ benefits at village workshops and festivals.
Reaching its 100,000th ICS is a remarkable milestone for the programme, and underlines its huge success toward partnership building and commercial approach. “This programme demonstrates well that through a well-balanced intervention involving the public, private and civil sector, markets can become sustainable and economically sensible. Out of an area with 500,000 households, 20% already have an ICS, and its share is only increasing,” says Bastiaan Teune, Sector Leader for Renewable Energy of SNV in Laos.
Like all ASEAN countries, Lao PDR seeks ways to mitigate climate change and introducing ICS to the market has proven to be a meaningful approach. One ICS saves 0.5 tonne of CO2 a year, and thus far 35,000 tonnes have been reduced, which is equivalent to the emissions of 7,000 people flying from Vientiane to Brussels and back again. “For us, the feedback from cooks has always been our key concern, and the overwhelming comments made it rewarding and has motivated us to overcome many challenges over the past years. This helped us to get support from many different actors. Sometimes we gave out an ICS to try and after that we got the interest,” explains Amphone Souvannalath, Director of ARMI.
The ICS program is supported by carbon finance through a partnership with Nexus. In the coming years ICS aims to gain more revenue to scale up its activities and introduce other clean cookstove models, which will hopefully have a similar positive uptake as the ICS.