Cookstoves: 3 stones outside, traditional, bucket, women carrying firewood, 3 stones indoors

Inefficient cooking practices using polluting stoves and fuels create indoor air pollution

Around 2,600 million people cook using open fires or simple traditional stoves

The most basic set-up consists of 3 stones with a fire in-between and the cooking pot balanced on top

Firewood, charcoal, animal dung, crop wastes, kerosene and coal are used

Fuelwood or charcoal extracted from surrounding forest is inefficiently burnt, creating smoke and using a lot of fuel

Carbon finance provides revenue to subsidise cookstove distribution

Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020) – “Energy”. Published online at Retrieved from: ‘’ [Online Resource]

Why Cookstoves as a Carbon Offset?

women carrying firewood
80% of firewood gathering is undertaken by women and children

Charcoal and Fuelwood

FAO estimates 880 million people worldwide spend part of their time collecting fuelwood or producing charcoal, many of them women

FAO State of the World’s Forests (2020)

About 50% of the wood extracted from forests is used for energy, mostly cooking and heating

  • 17% of this converted to charcoal
  • use of sustainably sourced wood for charcoal production is low

Producing and using fuelwood and charcoal produces emissions of up to 2,400 million tonnes annually

Most charcoal manufacture in low-income countries uses simple technologies with low efficiencies (10–22 percent) plus the 3-stones and traditional stoves have low energy efficiency

  • Using fuel-efficient stoves at the household level increases charcoal and fuelwood use efficiency and could reduce emissions by over 60%

(Charcoal Transition, FAO)


Over 750 million people do not have access to electricity, they use less than 22 kWh a year

  • they are not going to use electricity for cooking


Improved cookstoves have been found to provide significant savings annually in Kenya (Berkouwer and Dean, 2019)

They cost about 10 days income to buy and save about one month’s income for the median household each year

Poor households are aware of the benefits of these stoves but they cannot afford the upfront cost to purchase them

  • carbon finance through offset projects overcomes this economic constraint
3 stones are used around the world to hold a pot above an open fire
3 stones are used around the world to hold a pot above an open fire
traditional stove, smoke fills room
Traditional stoves are inefficient, creating smoke that causes health issues


3.8 million people will die prematurely this year from household air pollution

In poorly ventilated dwellings, indoor smoke can be 100 times higher than acceptable levels for fine particles

Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth

Almost 50% of pneumonia deaths in kids under 5 years are caused by breathing soot indoors

(World Health Organisation)

Cookstoves reduce fuel use and indoor air pollution

What is a Cookstove Project?

large pots over open fires
2.6 billion people use polluting fuels to cook food
3 stones cooking indoors with smoke
3 stones supporting cooking pot - smoke is released indoors

Cookstove projects replace low efficiency traditional stoves and three stones

The carbon offset is generated by the reduced use of fuelwood, charcoal taken from existing forests across the project’s area

This type of project is usually classed under Energy Efficiency (more efficient fuel burning)


They typically have at their core a program of manufacturing and/or supplying more efficient improved cookstoves

The cookstoves are provided to the people in the project’s area

  • at local, regional or national scale
  • either free or at a subsidised price


As most of the firewood and charcoal used is taken from local forests, improved cookstoves are often supplied to local people by REDD+ projects to reduce forest degradation

Projects using cookstoves create substantial sustainability co-benefits

Sustainability Beyond Carbon

Sustainability co-benefits, beyond the carbon, associated with the cookstove project type include

  • improved indoor air quality
  • reduced time and effort spent collecting fuel, typically by women and children
  • decreased risk of injury both cooking and collecting firewood, especially to women and children
  • decreased risk of violence while collecting fuel in less secure environments
  • increased time for other activities and tasks such as school, employment, social/cultural
  • decreased degradation of local forests and the associated impacts on biodiversity
  • improved health with potentially lower rates of pneumonia, stroke, heart disease and cancer
  • women and children benefit directly
  • employment being created (both directly or indirectly) by using local people and resources
Example of bucket style cookstoves
Example of bucket style cookstoves

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Buying carbon offsets from Beyond Neutral is easy

All the projects sold by Beyond Neutral are accredited under either VCS or Gold Standard , so the offset you buy has been created by a project

  • that follows a specific methodology
  • has been verified as having occurred by one of that Standard’s third party verification bodies
  • is tracked in that Standard’s Registry using a unique serial number from issuance until retirement on your behalf
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