Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Summary

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (the Alliance) is a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership developed by Shell Foundation, the UN Foundation and the US State Department. Established in 2010, the Alliance is working to build a global market for efficient household cookstoves, and aims to foster the adoption of cleaner cooking solutions in 100 million households before 2020.

Over three billion people cook their daily meals on open fires or inefficient stoves – a multifaceted development challenge that impacts:

  • Health: household air pollution kills over 4.3 million people every year (more than HIV, Malaria & TB combined) while, in some countries, women spend hours gathering fuel at great risk from injury and violence
  • Income: burning biomass inefficiently increases fuel costs and/or time spent gathering fuel
  • Environment: black carbon from inefficient cooking is a major contributor to climate change

smoke-woman2.jpgSince 2002, SF has been working to catalyse a new market for more efficient “clean” cookstoves that significantly reduce fuel use, emissions and cooking time for people who rely on solid fuels for cooking. This work has led to our partnership with Envirofit to create a viable global clean cookstoves business, and to innovations throughout the value chain to develop new ways to get affordable, durable and desirable products to the low-income households who need them most.

Proving the viability of such models is just one small step towards tackling an issue this big. As part of our efforts to encourage new entrants into the market, to create a robust value chain to support them, Shell Foundation partnered with the UN Foundation in 2009 to co-develop a non-profit institution that could provide critical support and infrastructure to catalyse the growth of a worldwide industry.

The Alliance Model

The Alliance aims to mobilise public and private grant and investment resources, codify best practice and develop global standards for clean cookstoves and fuels, build the capacity of organisations in the sector, and advocate for a supportive enabling environment.

At launch, Shell Foundation seconded a dedicated full-time staff member to the UN Foundation to help design an effective model for the initiative. Over the next few months, further support was secured from the US State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organisation, Morgan Stanley and Shell among others – leading to an official launch at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2010. 

Stove manufacturers face numerous barriers to successfully selling clean cookstoves at scale – and just like any fledgling industry they need support to address those barriers. That is why we helped co-found the Global Alliance and remain an active supporter

Chris West


The Alliance focuses its efforts in three main areas:

  • Enhancing demand through building consumer awareness, innovative distribution models, access to finance and the development of better technologies.
  • Strengthening supply by providing cookstove businesses with access to capital for R&D, growth, monetising carbon impacts and empowering women, and by providing critical market intelligence to the sector.
  • Fostering an enabling environment through a range of activities such as establishing industry standards, testing new financing mechanisms, leveraging support across the private and public sectors, developing monitoring guidelines – and advocating for policy changes to global tax and tariff barriers.
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