Over 93% of Haitians rely on charcoal as a primary energy source, yet less than 2% of forests remain. As a result, the price of charcoal in Haiti is extremely high compared to most countries in the developing world, and an average Haitian family might spend over 40% of income on cooking fuel.
Carbon Roots International has responded to Haiti’s charcoal problem, and the low adoption rates of many cookstove and alternative fuel initiatives, with an innovative, culturally appropriate fuel called green charcoal. Green charcoal briquettes are made from carbonized agricultural waste, and can be used as “drop-in” replacements for traditional charcoal, requiring no new stove technologies nor changes in cooking methods, which significantly ameliorates key obstacles that plague new cookstove and alternative fuel technologies. Moreover, green charcoal briquettes are cheaper than traditional wood charcoal, which is extremely attractive to energy consumers at the bottom of the pyramid.
Consumers in Haiti and other regions of the developing world are proving extremely receptive to switching to green charcoal briquettes. Because the briquettes function the same, and switching to green charcoal saves money and and prevents deforestation, Haitians have begun to embrace green charcoal as a viable alternative to wood and wood-based charcoal. CRI’s consumers are quickly recognizing that green charcoal is good for the environment and makes financial sense!