Last week the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and its partners celebrated three years of progress on the path toward our goal of 100 million households adopting clean cooking solutions by 2020. That path became clearer with the results reporting of our partners: 8.2 million clean and improved cookstoves were disseminated in 2012 – double the previous year’s figures.
The week began with Greg Spencer of The Paradigm Project participating in a conversation at the Social Good Summit, where he shared the health and environmental promises inherent in clean cooking solutions from his own experience working throughout East Africa.
I participated in a series of Clinton Global Initiative discussions throughout the week to further raise the visibility of the issue and the Alliance. A breakfast briefing sponsored by the Fuel Freedom Foundation took a holistic look at local fuel production and access across multiple industries, including cooking, heating, lighting, transportation, and even fertilizer production. Additionally, I spoke as part of an energy and markets plenary on best practices and lessons learned when marketing to the BoP.
Thursday, September 26th was indeed the busiest and most exciting day for the Alliance. The morning began with a breakfast meeting of our Leadership and Advisory Councils in order to brief them on the progress of the Alliance in the last year. High participation, thoughtful discussion, and new relationships highlighted the gathering, and the Councils are very excited about and engaged in the work that lies before us. New world leaders joining our councils include President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala, Minister Lilianne Ploumen of The Netherlands, and Jay Ireland, CEO of GE Africa.
The Alliance then began an afternoon of interactive panels to take a deeper look at issues such as increasing investment in the sector and market development – a session deftly moderated by Bloomberg TV’s Megan Hughes – and to showcase some of the new tools we developed in the last year to foster an enabling environment for a thriving, global clean cookstove and fuel market, all of which you can read about in this months’ newsletter. We also arranged ‘deal rooms’ in which sector entrepreneurs and investors met to discuss potential funding opportunities.
This exciting day culminated in a reception to celebrate our third anniversary today with major new announcements, partnerships, and commitments.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that she will chair the Alliance’s Leadership Council, and said, “We need to keep the Alliance going and growing. Find more partners; expand the market; put more stoves in the hands of consumers; save more lives. That’s what the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is all about, and that’s why I will continue to be an enthusiastic supporter and partner.”
A number of corporations also announced their new or renewed commitments to move the Alliance’s market development work forward:
- Shell, a founding partner, has renewed their initial major commitment to the Alliance with an additional $6 million gift. Their impressive leadership in the sector is critical to our efforts to help entrepreneurs reach scale, and raise awareness about inefficient and dangerous cooking practices;
- Deutsche Bank has partnered with the Alliance to create a $4 million Working Capital Fund to provide loans and loan guarantees to enterprises that are unable to access traditional forms of debt financing; and
- CEMEX has committed to provide funding for engagement in Latin America, Bangladesh, and globally, a commitment that builds on the company’s previous work in the clean cooking sector.
Many of you reading this message have contributed to the Alliance’s success at three years; indeed, many of you were working to address and arrest this killer before the Alliance formed. At three years, it’s clear that together we are poised as a sector to create a world in which cooking does not kill. I thank you for your continued support and expertise.