NACC organised clean cooking campaign tagged #NGRCleanCooking, to see who among its partners would have the most engagements on Facebook and Twitter while showcasing their clean cooking activities in Nigeria. Carbon Credit Network emerged as the winner.
In this interview, the Business Development Associate; Oluwakemi Otu shares their activities in the clean cookstoves sector.
Give us a brief introduction about your organisation. What are the objectives of your organisation?
The Carbon Credit Network is an enterprise division of SMEFUNDS, a renewable energy advocacy organization that has been responsible for the training, support and success of a network of purpose-driven professionals. Our mission is to promote, educate and sell commendable and highly innovative renewable energy, biofuel and solar-powered solutions to commercial and residential markets across Africa. We are building a massive network of individuals whose collective actions would contribute to a remarkable offset in the quantity of carbon and greenhouse gasses being emitted to the environment.
What does your organisation seek to achieve in Nigeria’s cooking energy market?
We want to end kerosene generation and our goal is to provide low-cost, clean and safe energy (Lighting & Cookstoves) for low-income households. We use social marketing to economically empower our independent distributors through Carbon Credit Earnings thereby lifting them out of poverty while fighting climate change in Africa.
What are the opportunities in the business environment that have supported your organisation’s involvement in the clean cookstove sector over the years?
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has provided financial support and capacity building training to us which has gone a long way in positioning our organization as a major player in clean cookstove sector.
Another opportunity in our business environment is the withdrawal of subsidy on kerosene. This has made more people switch to alternative cleaner cooking solutions as kerosene is fast becoming unreachable for them.
How are your customers reacting to your products in the market – benefits of using your product?
The response has been positive so far as our product has been one of the major solutions to solving environmental pollution. We provide a biofuel gel and clean cookstoves that are clean, safe and affordable for low-income earners in Africa. The Kike cookstove along with the biofuel gel does not produce any smoke while cooking. Our 3 litres of Biofuel gel cooks for the same duration as 5 litres of kerosene and the biofuel gel is not hazardous to consumers.
Job creation and the empowerment of women seem to be increasingly important. How has your organization helped to drive employment generation and the empowerment of women?
With the awareness that about 95,000 people, mainly women and children, die every year from indoor pollution in Nigeria as a result of clean energy deficit, Carbon Credit Network has supported about 30,000 female micro-entrepreneurs, which represents over 80% of the people in our network of distributors. This particular interest in women empowerment has been highly insightful and impactful as the women now earn income thus joining in the fight against poverty.
If you are asked to advise the Federal Government of Nigeria on policy options, what are the three most important things the government can do to expand the market?
• Nigerian government should formulate and implement policies that strengthen the clean cookstoves sector, and give import duty waivers and incentives to local manufacturers.
• The government should assist in products standardization as local standards authorities are yet to come up with applicable standards for the sector.
• The government should provide support to clean cookstove manufacturers to scale to a commercial stage which will lower the cost of clean cookstoves, they can also hasten its adoption through the setting up intervention funds for initial acquisition of clean cookstoves.
If an enabling environment is not created by government, what future risks do you envisage?
If enabling environment is not created by the government, the price of clean cookstove may become unaffordable for low-income earners as the importers and manufacturers will continue to pass their overheads to the consumers. Our environment will remain energy starved, underdeveloped and poor because as much as individuals try to provide a solution, it cannot be 100% effective without the government intervention.
Where do you envisage your organization to be in the next 5 years in terms of production?
We intend to have reached over 2,000,000 households with our cleaner, safer and affordable cooking solutions. We also plan to have a presence in at least ten (10) African nations and empower about 500,000 women and youths for our environment to be greener.
What risk does your business face and what is your biggest challenge?
The major risk we face is our products becoming unreachable for the low-income household who we set out to lift out of energy poverty.
The challenges being faced presently is in two folds: Awareness creation in order to give our community appropriate visibility at both local and international levels. This is compounded by logistics hitch of getting biofuel across to some remote parts of the country. Another challenge we are contending with is the development of regular survey tool which will help us track the rate of adoption and ensure customer satisfaction is another
What are your suggestions for moving the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria?
We believe that if the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves could focus on the following financing and investment area our business will be highly impacted and cooking energy market will move forward swiftly:
(i) Market expansion: Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstove should assist players in the sector to get funding for market expansion as a massive market is being created with cookstove which will require a million litres of fuel as consumable.
(ii) Working capital: Manufacturers and importers will need funding for inventory in order to meet the demand being created.
(iii) Consumer financing: There is a need to stimulate the market by making consumer finance available to end-users which are currently finding it difficult to raise necessary finance to acquire clean cookstove as the majority of them are living below poverty line.
Is there any other thing you would like to share?
Nigeria Alliance for Clean Cookstove should work with the big institutions (Tony Elumelu Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Bank of Industry, etc) with large amounts of capital to focus on fighting Indoor Air Pollution through clean cookstoves market development.
This is a good one for the country and particularly for our women as deaths from indoor air pollution has been a major source of concern.