New handbook helps fuel enterprises overcome challenges in the cooking fuel value chain
Strengthening Fuel Supply Chains: A Handbook for Cooking Fuel Enterprises is the most recent addition to a set of tools developed by the Alliance to strengthen the cooking fuel sector and help fuel enterprises overcome common challenges and achieve scale and sustainability. The handbook serves as a guide for stakeholders interested in strengthening biomass fuel supply chains, but is not limited to cooking fuel enterprises. Stove companies, NGOs, investors, policymakers and other program implementers can use the handbook to expand their understanding of the fuel sector and fuel enterprises and better inform their decisions.
Scaling sustainably presents many challenges to fuel enterprises. Adapting business models, understanding new market characteristics, securing a sustainable supply of raw material, and minimizing environmental impacts across the supply chain are hurdles for any enterprise, no matter the size. The Fuel Handbook provides several opportunities to help with these challenges, including:
- Understanding, prioritizing and re-focusing the building blocks of a business model as fuel entrepreneurs plan their scale-up strategies using a strategic visualization tool.
- Assessing local feedstock availability and forecasting short-, medium- and long-term supply options using a simple supply curve as a tool method.
- Assessing a business model’s economic viability when considering expansion to a new geography utilizing a market replication tool.
- Evaluating opportunities for efficiency improvements across the fuel value chain using a methodology to holistically assess environmental impacts.
The handbook was developed with key insights and recommendations from the work done with three fuel enterprises that were recipients of an Alliance capacity building grant. Through the grant, the enterprises were provided tools and methodologies to help them as they plan their scale-up. While each grant was tailored to the specific contexts of the three enterprises, the set of the tools and the handbook were designed so that a broad range of fuel enterprises could use them to strengthen decision-making and strategic planning within their own business models.
The handbook and the tools are available here.