Improved Cookstoves - Colombia

While Colombia's large bustling cities are well known for their innovative climate solutions, the rural parts of the country are not enjoying the same level of development; not least when it comes to cooking solutions. It is estimated that 1.4 million households are relying on 'traditional' methods which stretches from cooking over an open fire to different type of fire-fuelled stoves to portable LPG containers, depending on what is available, affordable and convenient at the moment.

The practice of relying primarily on the burning of wood and cooking over an open fire has significant negative health, economic and environmental effects. The smoke contains particles which are harmful for the respiratory system. As cooking usually befalls to women and children, these groups are hardest hit. Moreover, if the firewood is collected in the woods, this takes a considerable amount of time, which could have been dedicated to other uses. Additionally, the environmental effects of deforestation are well known - release of greenhouse gases, land and soil degradation and increased proneness to drought, to name a few.

Using improved cookstoves contribute to alleviate these issues, to a certain extent, as they require much less firewood. Moreover, as they have an inbuilt chimney, the indoor air pollution is drastically reduced. Efficient cookstoves do exist in Colombia, but at a limited scale. The local authorities in a few provinces provide them free of charge, but at slower rate than what is needed. Moreover, this assistance-based approach distorts the market, resulting in little competition and very low-quality standards and limited market growth. Furthermore, this approach discourages the willingness to pay for an improved cookstove which means that there is a very limited offering of repairs and spare parts. Combined with the low quality, many of the free improved cookstoves break, and are then discarded. The family reverts to its earlier practice, and the same issues reappear. This also affects the perception of the improved cookstove as a technology within the community, further discouraging the willingness to pay from those affected.

Fundación Natura, a Colombian NGO, approached UNEP DTU Partnership with the idea to switch to a market-based approach, where innovative financial solutions would ensure improved cookstoves’ affordability, enabling scale up and mass distribution. This ADMIRE project has identified the barriers for this market based approach, and created partnerships to overcome them.


The objective was to create the necessary partnerships to integrate elements from a market based approach into the current assistance-based practice for the dissemination of improved cookstoves. The partnerships were built on the analyses of the current system from both the supply and demand side.

Click to read the full project brief.



Final Publication of the Project: "Construyendo un Enfoque de Mercado para el Escalamiento de un Programa Nacional de Estufas de Cocción con Leña"

Market Calculations Model which extrapolates the revenue, interest, and GHG emissions of a full scale efficient cookstove market.

Demand Projection Model which includes three scenarios of demand growth, and their implications on accumulated sales and concessional funding needs.



20 JANUARY 2022