New fund aims to fuel growth in market for clean cookstoves
By Megan Rowling
BARCELONA, Aug 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new $4 million fund aims to speed up the development of supply chains for less polluting cookstoves in poor communities, by lending to businesses that would otherwise struggle to finance their growth, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves said.
The Clean Cooking Working Capital Fund, the first debt fund focused on greener cookstoves, awarded its first loans this week to two U.S.-based social enterprise firms, Envirofit International and BioLite.
They will use the money to expand production and distribution of smart stoves that cook faster and cut down on fuel use, smoke and climate-changing emissions, in markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Latin America, the alliance said.
BioLite's high-tech stoves can also produce electricity.
Peter J. George, the alliance's director of impact investment, said the fund would provide debt finance to "companies that many other commercial banks and traditional lenders probably wouldn't be lending to at this stage", because they are still refining their technologies and business models.
"This fund will then be catalytic in raising future debt capital for companies in the sector. It is really a demonstration," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The alliance said a global market for clean cooking solutions is needed to reach the 3 billion people who still cook food with heavily-polluting solid fuels.
When burned in open fires and traditional stoves, wood, coal, charcoal and other solid fuels emit harmful smoke that claims 4 million lives annually, making household air pollution the fourth greatest health risk in the world, it said. Continuación...