The Paradigm Project

Market Need – Clean, Efficient Cookstoves

The Paradigm ProjectImagine having to carry 40 pounds of wood for miles, risking beatings and sexual assault, only to expose yourself and your children to toxic smoke just to cook a couple of meals for your family. That is the daily experience of hundreds of millions of women in the developing world. 

Nearly half the world’s population uses open fires fueled by coal, wood or charcoal to cook their food with the following consequences:

  • 1.9 million women and children die each year from lower respiratory disease caused by indoor cooking smoke.
  • Women or their children may spend 10 to 30 hours per week foraging for wood, exposing them to the risks of theft, beatings and rape.
  • Families spend $120 per year on cooking fuel – as much as a third of their annual income.
  • 25% of global CO2 emissions are generated by the rural poor, more than all global transportation-related emissions combined.
  • High demand for wood and charcoal for cooking contributes to deforestation and increases pressure on natural resources and habitats.

Energy-efficient, clean-burning cookstoves are among a handful of priority needs of low-income households in Africa that can be profitably supplied whilst generating economic, social and environmental benefits. 

Investment — Paradigm Kenya

SpringHill has taken a significant minority stake in Paradigm Kenya. Paradigm is distributing a range of locally made and imported stoves at different price points. Each stove model burns more efficiently and cleanly, saving half the fuel and attendant costs and eliminating 75% of the toxic smoke emissions. 

Compared with the other cookstove businesses we reviewed, we were impressed by Paradigm’s leadership — both local and international — and their:

  • Creative business model that employs a multi-channel distribution strategy selling a range of high-performing stoves at different price points.
  • Expertise and established relationships in the carbon markets.
  • Commitment to establishing a stove business that treats end-users as consumers with the dignity of choice (vs. “beneficiaries of aid") and can sustain itself without carbon income in the long-term.
  • Rapid market traction with the first full year of sales almost double the original business plan projections.
  • Capacity to expand into the rest of East Africa.