The lack of an international agreement on standards has made it challenging for stove manufacturers, distributors, investors as well as users to rate the quality and efficiency of cook stoves in different markets. Because improved stoves are not necessarily significantly cleaner, safer, or more efficient, having a set of standards in place that clearly defines how technology impacts fuel use, emissions, durability and safety will allow consumers to make more informed choices, spur manufacturers to build higher quality stoves, and increase the level of overall investment in the sector.
Standards are particularly important because they provide policymakers, donors, investors, stove experts, and program managers with a credible basis for comparing stove performance and safety and provide experts with a common set of terms for communicating and understanding stove performance. Furthermore, standards can give stove makers affirmation of product quality, let users know they are making a worthwhile investment, and drive industry innovation.
Progress to Date
The international stove community reached a consensus regarding a path forward on standards in February 2011 at the Biennial Forum in Lima, Peru . Key stakeholders worked throughout the past year to develop a tiered set of exposure, efficiency, and safety standards for clean cookstoves that could be brought to the wider community for consideration.
In a meeting jointly convened this February in The Hague by the Alliance and US EPA’s Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, and chaired by the International Standardization Organization, more than 90 stakeholders from 23 countries reached a consensus on an International Workshop Agreement document . The agreement represents a significant step forward in global efforts to scale up clean cookstoves and fuels as it provides guidance for rating cookstoves on four performance indicators: fuel use, total emissions, indoor emissions, and safety. Each indicator will have different tiered standards in order to foster improvement across the entire supply chain.