In most of the places where WFP works, firewood is the most important source of households’ energy supply; and cooking is usually done using inefficient three stone stoves. Both have serious consequences to people’s health, safety and livelihoods:

  • Growing populations and firewood demand are increasing deforestation and accelerating land degradation, increasing climate risks and affecting agriculture and food security.  
  • Inefficient wood combustion affects people’s health by increasing indoor air pollution.
  • Collection of firewood increases women and children’s exposure to the risks of violence, while reducing time available for education or more productive purposes.  

Fuel-efficient stoves help to alleviate these problems and improve food security. They:  

  •  Can improve health conditions
  •  Promote gender equality
  •  Save fuel and reduce household expenditure on firewood or charcoal
  •  Reduce exposure to violence when collecting firewoord, and free time for households to engage in productive activities and children to attend school  
  •  Can also reduce environmental degradation and reduce carbon emissions. 

Combining Carbon Credits with SAFE

WFP is exploring combining WFP’s work on Safe Access to Firewood and alternative Energy (SAFE) with carbon credits to test new financing approaches that support people’s livelihoods and the long-term sustainability of these initiatives. 

WFP Experience With Carbon Credits


Since 2010, WFP has  worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environment to develop activities for the distribution of improved cook stoves under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Ethiopia.

The plan is for WFP, in partnership with the Government, to distribute fuel-efficient cookstoves to 100,000 food insecure households in environmentally degraded areas.  WFP will also provide institutional fuel efficient cook stoves to 2,000 schools as part of its School Feeding programme. The provision of two different stoves (Mirt and Tikikil) will cover most of households’ cooking needs (injera baking, cooking of sauces, coffee making) and improve the efficiency of cooking fuel by 50 percent. The stoves will be locally produced by local stoves cooperatives.  

The initiative supports the Ethiopian Government’s Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy and the Fuel Wood-Efficient Stoves Investment Plan 2012-2015. Estimates from site testing suggest savings in firewood usage between 35 to 50 percent through the use of the two household stoves, and up to 68 percent with institutional stoves.  This would mean a saving of 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 over the 28 year crediting period of the project. Setting up this carbon credits mechanism was kick-started thanks to the contribution from KfW Development Bank.

Other activities

The experience in Ethiopia, alongside feasibility studies undertaken in Kenya and Zambia, are helping WFP to formulate guidance for other country offices interested in financing SAFE stove projects for their longer-term sustainability.