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Improving Cookstoves in Bangladesh: A Novel Case Study on Blockchain Technology and Climate Change Initiatives

CRISIS - Pollution Crises by March Zheng Asia Feb 24th 20234 mins
Improving Cookstoves in Bangladesh: A Novel Case Study on Blockchain Technology and Climate Change Initiatives

A greener and more sustainable society can be achieved through practical market approaches. A successful transition requires a combination of transparency, legitimacy, and incentives designed around the community.  Main terminologies stated here include DAOs and Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCM). The KlimaDAO initiative to improve cookstoves in Bangladesh and other parts of the world through these organisations shows the dual potential that can exist, as well as their complementing advantages.  

A DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) is a novel method of organisation coordinated around blockchain technology to better serve digital communities. Decentralised in nature, DAOs are member-owned communities with their prime characteristic being that there is no centralised leadership. The rules and mandates of the organisation are designed around code and tokens for governance. 

KlimaDAO has positioned itself as a premier blockchain organisation utilising new incentives and mechanisms in addressing climate change.        

DAOs are not exclusive only to the blockchain markets, where DAOs oftentimes will partner with traditional industry powerhouses to support common initiatives. Organisations such as SCB Group, a traditional high-impact, low-carbon project developer, are world-leading low carbon companies with a portfolio of established global carbon project developments. Their dedication in technical expertise of project financing, planning of community-led developments, and evaluations are necessary characteristics that give corporations trust in verifying and purchasing carbon offsets through their funnel. 

KlimaDAO, in partnership with SCB Group, has recently ratified 250,000 USDC from its treasury to support the development of the improved cookstoves project in Bangladesh

klimadao; Improved Cookstoves project in Bangladesh in collaboration with SCB Group

Improved Cookstoves project in Bangladesh in collaboration with SCB Group. Image by KlimaDAO

Originally starting as an open forum which lasted 3 months in community discussion, the KlimaDAO community voted through their community token ($KLIMA) to fund this development.  The funding secures a forward delivery of GS methodologies (Gold Standard – Voluntary Carbon Market Registry) carbon credits, with reserves coming directly from KlimaDAO’s governance treasury. These forward delivery credits under the EEIMP carbon standard are focused on, among others, climate action, good health and well-being as well as affordable and clean energy.    

Earth.Org has recently highlighted the dangers of gas stoves, and how a transition to energy-efficient stoves can be feasible and is a necessity in keeping the environment sustainable. The main argument in the problems associated with gas stoves are the effects on respiratory health, which are especially exacerbated within small dwelling spaces.  

It is estimated that less than 20% of households within the Bangladeshi population (about 35 million people) have access to clean cooking. Energy-efficient, smokeless cook stoves (known locally in Bangladesh as Chula), help address environmental issues which are associated with polluting stoves that have open flames in the household. Also known as “friendly stove” in the native language, these cleaner home cooking initiatives represent a major aspect of carbon finance which subsidises 50% of the cost of stove installation.  

As stated in the community forum, the improved smokeless, cookstoves burn wood more efficiently, causing less environmental impact from the extensive wood harvesting for cooking fuel in the forest area surrounding the camps. 

 You might also like: Gas vs Electric Stoves: Which One Is Better for Your Health and the Environment?

Project Benefits

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 3 billion people worldwide still use inefficient open fires or traditional stoves fuelled by biomass or coal for cooking. 

The KlimaDAO + SCB Group initiative will focus first on the Rohingya Refugee camp in Bangladesh. Measurements for the legitimacy of this initiative is also aided by improving maturation of the carbon finance markets. A site visit in November 2022 by a senior SCB management partner laid out the necessary groundworks for the feasibility of the proposal.  

Through live community updates directed towards KlimaDAO and related parties, there was a constant source of information and verification to ensure that the initiative was bringing the right benefits to the community. These are examples of the legitimacy of traditional carbon incumbents using the efficiency of distributed communities and blockchain projects to better implement transparency.  

Not only on the transparency front, but the measurement of the financial maturation is a major improvement, too. As with all projects of this magnitude, the initiative will undergo a Gold Standard Registration and will lead to at least one million metric tonnes of CO2 abatement over a five-year period.  

As the voluntary carbon markets continue to grow, corporations will find more and more that the vintages and offsets they purchased will also have designs and benefits that blockchain communities can verify. Already through SCB in partnership with the Bangladesh Bondhu Foundation – a local non-profit organisation focused exclusively on public goods – about 100,000 cookstoves were distributed in 2022 and more will be given out in early 2023. The risk mitigations in deliverance of these carbon credits by both SCB and Klima can be found here.   

Through this initiative, we are seeing a trifecta of working partnerships between SCB Group, KlimaDAO, and the Bangladesh Bondhu Foundation. In this working dynamic, a market practical approach is aided by the community incentives in line with altruistic principles.  

KlimaDAO is convicted in their beliefs that on-chain markets and an economic, practical approach to addressing climate change will be the key to transitioning society on the green path. Their partnership with traditional incumbents shows the willingness in adopting innovation as an absolute necessity for addressing climate change. 

The fact that the stove initiative in Bangladesh was established through a community vote shows the collective power that an incentivised community can have in public goods. It is argued that there will be more demand on carbon markets than the supply available to address it. Thus, it is imperative that we find and support the most efficient approaches in making our planet more sustainable, as it is very likely that the key to solving the climate crisis will come from a collective societal approach. Blockchain technology has so far proven that they can intersect across all forefronts of this trifecta spectrum.

 You might also like: Can the Voluntary Carbon Market Help Improve Sustainability in Developing Countries?

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