Gender equality & Women's Emancipation
There is still a lot to be done to achieve gender equality and women’s emancipation, the reasons are many and vary depending on the geographical areas. In regions where traditional cooking methods persist and women are responsible for household chores and fuel collection for cooking, straightforward actions, such as the dissemination and implementation of efficient cooking systems, can significantly improve their living conditions and daily lives.
Almost half of the world’s population today still rely on fuels such as wood, charcoal, coal, and kerosene to cook food every day with traditional cooking systems, such as open fires or inefficient stoves. Cooking in this way leads to dangerous levels of smoke exposure, killing up to four million people each year, with women and children among the most vulnerable.
The lack of access to clean and efficient cooking solutions has significant consequences for women. Not only does cooking endanger their health due to the inhalation of toxic smoke, but it often prevents girls and women from attending school and from engaging in income-generating activities, since most of their days must be spent collecting firewood and covering longer distances carrying heavy loads due to deforestation.
In conflict settings, moreover, women face greater vulnerability to physical attacks when they leave their communities or refugee camps in search of fuel.
Providing women with access to modern cooking systems is a fundamental but often overlooked means of empowering women at the family level and promoting gender equality. With clean cooking technologies, a woman could reduce or eliminate her exposure to domestic air pollution, reduce cooking times, and reduce the number of trips she makes to collect firewood. And be able to use the time saved to engage in productive economic activities, pursue educational opportunities, or simply rest and take care of her family.
Women also play a crucial role in raising awareness and generating demand for efficient cooking solutions, thanks to their role within their community relationships. The clean cooking value chain also offers new pathways for women’s economic empowerment, providing various job opportunities, from the production of cooking stoves to their sale.
High efficiency Cookstoves & Sustainable Development
Universal access to efficient cooking is essential to improving health, livelihoods, protecting the climate and the environment, and at the same time promoting women’s empowerment, all fundamental elements for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Several studies show that the loss of time attributable to unpaid domestic work is a significant obstacle to women’s emancipation and the broader economic development of emerging countries. Cooking and fuel collection are key components of unpaid work and must be addressed if we want to achieve SDG 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
Carbon credits as a tool for women's empowerment
The biggest obstacle to the global adoption of efficient cooking systems is not cultural but financial. Often, in developing countries, there is a lack of specific funds and capital to finance large-scale energy transitions, and international aid focuses on more easily communicable and spendable areas of intervention.
In this sense, carbon credits can play a fundamental role in ensuring the necessary financial coverage for cooking system replacement projects. In fact, they are already doing so.
According to the latest data from the Voluntary Carbon Market (source: Ecosystem Marketplace, State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2022 Q3), greenhouse gas emissions compensation projects certified by the world’s leading Carbon Standards have generated transactions worth over $20 million. These funds have been paid by companies operating in industrialized countries that are undertaking Carbon Neutrality or Net Zero paths by offsetting their emissions through the purchase of Carbon Credits generated from efficient cooking system distribution projects.
While this may be few compared to the needs required for a complete global transition, to date, it is probably the most effective tool for funding the start-up and scalability of efficient cooking system distribution projects.
Therefore, in this sense, Carbon Credits can become a fundamental driver for ensuring access to modern cooking solutions, contributing at the same time to women’s emancipation and social development.