Lao Economy

Celebrating The Sales Of 100,000 Improved Cook Stoves In Laos


In June 2016, the SWITCH-Asia project Improved Cookstoves (ICS) celebrated the production and sale of 100,000 ICS since the project began in 2013.

The ICS project has contributed to poverty alleviation in Lao PDR through the development of a sustainable consumption and production chain of fuel efficient ICS, which reduces the use of wood and charcoal and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.

As all ASEAN countries seek ways to mitigate climate change, introducing ICS to the market is a meaningful approach.

Its clever design means that less fuel is needed for preparing the same meal, and that the stove lasts longer. According to project’s calculations, households save 16,000 LAK (1,8 EUR) per month thanks to fuel savings and durability. Higher efficiency also saves 30 minutes of cooking time a day, giving the cooks more time to engage in other activities. Additionally, each ICS saves 0.5 tonnes of CO2 a year and thus plays a significant role in abating emissions, too.

“This project demonstrates well that through a well-balanced intervention involving the public, private and civil sector, markets can become sustainable and sensible. Out of an area with 500,000 households 20% [now] do have an ICS, and its share is only increasing,” says Bastiaan Teune, Sector Leader for Renewable Energy of SNV in Laos.

ICS on sale at a mall in downtown Vientiane ahead of the event celebrating the 100,000 purchases since 2013. (Source: SWITCH-Asia project)

The ICS project and its stakeholders celebrated this milestone on June 10 with a public event in a popular mall in downtown Vientiane. In the lead up to this event, ICS were for sale at a booth in the mall, and LED signs with the bright blue, easily recognisable ICS colour and superman logo advertised the event outside. 23 new customers chose to purchase stoves while visiting the mall throughout the week. The highlight of the celebration for many was a Lao cultural dance performance by the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre, one of the project’s retailers, who were also recently accredited as stove producers.

As the SWITCH-Asia project is coming to an end in 2016, with the support of Nexus for Development it now aims to gain revenues from carbon finance to continue its activities over the coming years. Also as a part of the new Market Acceleration of Advanced Clean Cookstoves in the Greater Mekong Region project, clean cook stove models will be introduced to the Lao market to address health issues associated with smoke from cooking on wood and charcoal.