Statement from CEO of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Radha Muthiah in Response to Washington Post Opinion Piece
Following Marc Gunther’s opinion piece in the Washington Post, Radha Muthiah, CEO of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves issued the following statement.
“Marc Gunther’s recent opinion piece missed the mark on the clean cookstoves story. As he acknowledges, changing the way more than half the world cooks is not easy, and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has accomplished a great deal. Given the complexity of the issue, we never promised nor expected sustainable results in just a few years. Yet his assumption that efforts to scale-up adoption of more efficient biomass stoves will not result in any benefits is wrong.
“While health outcomes are very important, our focus has never just been on health. Our mission statement addresses four areas, including improving health as well as providing climate and environment, gender, and livelihood benefits. While not all cookstoves save lives, efficient stoves can save millions of trees, prevent women and children from spending up to five hours every day collecting wood, and reduce massive amounts of the short-lived climate pollutants emitted by traditional stoves.
“The Alliance was created to transform a sector that had been struggling to meet the needs of users after three decades of well-intentioned work. In the five years since its launch, the Alliance has grown from 19 to more than 1300 partners, including clean fuels enterprises scaling up electric, gas, and solar cooking. The Alliance’s market-based approach has already strengthened the capacity of enterprises along the value chain, enabled 20 countries to participate in a global ISO standards process, enhanced awareness of clean solutions among consumers at the base of the pyramid, and supported research to demonstrate the benefits of cleaner and more efficient cookstoves and fuels. It is precisely because of this comprehensive approach that we have an ability to clearly distinguish between different stove and fuel combinations, and the benefits that each can provide.
“The Alliance and its partners have a deliberate and strategic plan for the sector. Our plan blends a long-term focus on clean cookstoves and fuels with the understanding that millions of people need cleaner and more efficient stoves at a price they can afford today as they transition to better cooking solutions.
“Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good. It is critical to provide better solutions to everyone today, while working to ensure that everyone has access to the best solutions in the future.”