Since 1997, climate and development expert ClimateCare has unlocked private sector finance to distribute clean cookstoves to more than 750,000 families. Its experts develop and consult on innovative projects across the world, concentrating on those that place benefits to the local community and environment at their heart.
Back in 2003, ClimateCare funded its first cookstove project through carbon finance - the first company in the world to do so. This paved the way for further work which helped make it possible to fund clean cookstove projects through the sale of carbon credits on a much larger scale. Since then, it has encouraged many hundreds of organizations around the world to learn from and follow its approach.
Carbon financing works by companies funding projects that cut emissions — but the projects usually receive payments only when carbon dioxide reductions have actually been delivered. So, as well as being a way to generate funding from global business, carbon finance is a new way of thinking, where project developers are paid for results, rather than through more traditional donations to a project based on intentions.
This results-based approach to financing is one that businesses are familiar and comfortable with and, in a world where cooking on open fires remains a leading cause of death in developing countries, ClimateCare is using its knowledge to develop other funding mechanisms for projects, to complement carbon finance.
Businesses increasingly look to fund projects that address their environmental impacts (predominantly water use and carbon emissions) and improve the communities in which they work or intend to move into. For most this is not just philanthropy — it is pragmatic planning that calls for clear, measurable outcomes and defined business benefits.
As a result, ClimateCare is working on mechanisms to take payments for the development outcomes of projects, such as health improvements. This is no easy task, but through innovative projects to measure health benefits, and by applying learning gained through the carbon market, the organisation is demonstrating how results-based payments for development projects can work, and how the carbon credit model can serve as a template for evaluating development progress in the future.
The final piece of the jigsaw is collaboration. Bringing together public and private sector partners to finance projects reduces risk as well as increasing the level of funding. However whilst these partners often share development objectives, they have different ways of working to attain their end goal. That is why ClimateCare is pleased to partner with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and its public-private approach to market development for clean cookstoves and fuels.
ClimateCare’s combination of commercial experience and social vision means it increasingly finds itself acting as translator, facilitator and implementing partner for both businesses and governments looking to meet environmental and social development targets as well as the NGOs and project developers which make it happen. The resulting collaborations have the potential to create a step change in the scale of projects.
Tom Morton is director of ClimateCare, an organisation that mobilises private finance to deliver projects with positive environmental and social impacts around the world. For help to structure finance for your cookstove project, visit www.climatecare.org. To read a case study about ClimateCare’s work with Gyapa in Ghana, click here.
Photo Caption: Rebecca with a Gyapa stove in Ghana. Photo Credit: Relief International/Gyapa Enterprises.