In Uganda, where more than 90 percent of the population still cook over open wood and charcoal fires, nearly one-third of the country’s trees have been felled in just the last 20 years. At the current rate of deforestation, the Ugandan Environment Management Agency predicts that there will be no forests left by 2050.
Enter the Ugastove — an insulated cookstove that cuts charcoal usage by half. In addition to saving trees and reducing pollution, the clay-lined metal stove is built with local labor and materials, and lasts much longer than traditional clay stoves.
At about $26 each, the cost of a Ugastove would be prohibitive to many Ugandans, but a carbon-offset scheme developed by the non-profit group, Impact Carbon, has brought the price down to a more affordable $8.
Impact Carbon calculates the carbon savings from each new Ugastove relative to a traditional cookstove, and sells the resulting carbon credits to individuals and organizations who wish to offset their own carbon emissions. Proceeds are fed back to Ugastove as subsidies which reduce the cookstove’s cost.
Ugastove currently employs 150 workers and produces 10,000 cookstoves per month. About 250,000 units have been sold to date, and according to Impact Carbon, have reduced carbon emissions by a million tonnes.