Cookstoves Delivering Change in Lesotho

Energy efficient cookstoves are halting deforestation and making daily life easier for communities in Lesotho. Now these rural communities are looking to benefit from Fairtrade certification under the new Climate Standard too.

The Save80 cookstoves being used in the foothill regions of Lesotho. Photos courtesy of atmosfair.

03 December 2015

Lesotho is one of the world's poorest countries. On the United Nations’ Human Development Index, the African country ranks 162 of 187 countries. About 90 percent of its nearly two million inhabitants depend on agriculture, but only ten percent of ​​Lesotho is arable land – and it’s declining. Soil erosion due to deforestation and unplanned settlements are reducing the amount of available land.

Lesotho’s wooded areas are also under threat, as they are used for fire wood in cooking. More scrub is being chopped down than can grow back naturally. Over the past 25 years the country has lost two-thirds of its forests. If this rate continues, Lesotho will be completely deforested within fifteen years.

Save80 cookstoves for Lesotho

To try to halt this, Deutsche Post DHL Group in cooperation with atmosfair launched a long-term climate project in Lesotho in 2010. At its core is the Save80, a fuel-efficient cookstove. The name says it all: it requires 80 percent less firewood than the usual method of cooking over an open fire. The oven offers other benefits too – using less wood limits deforestation, thus reducing soil erosion. At the same time unhealthy smoke levels, which especially affect women and children, will be reduced. Less time collecting wood means more time and money for other activities.

Mamathabi Matsoilani has already received a cookstove: ‘We no longer have to get up so early,’ she says. ‘When the children go to school, we take care of the food. The new stove uses less wood, the food is cooked easily and we have more time for other things. ‘

Each cookstove saves the emissions of an average family-size car per year

The high energy efficiency of the stoves results in significantly fewer harmful emissions. Each stove saves an approximately 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. This is roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of an average vehicle (at 10,000-12,000km) or a return flight from Berlin to Dubai. The Lesotho SAVE80 project meets the high standards of the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and of Gold Standard, an internationally recognized organization with expertise in climate and development projects. Atmosfair and the local organization Solar Lights are running the project. Financed by Deutsche Post DHL, the company receives the carbon credits generated through the project to compensate the emissions of its GoGreen carbon-neutral shipping service.

10,000 cookstoves have been delivered, benefiting 44,000 people in communities of Lesotho’s Foothill region and reducing 344,000 tonnes of CO2 within the next ten years.

Next step: Fairtrade Climate Standard

The Lesotho project now aims to receive the additional Fairtrade certification. The new Fairtrade Climate Standard includes some completely new aspects on the voluntary carbon market. The standard enables producers to improve their resilience to climate change, while also making their own contribution to reducing emissions. A minimum price ensures the costs of running the carbon reduction project are covered. What’s more, producers receive a Fairtrade Premium for each credit sold: money to support them in the fight against the impacts of climate change in their communities.

Read more about the project on atmosfair's website

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