Millions of people around the world have no choice but to cook with charcoal. This leads to indoor air pollution, which is a major cause of premature death in developing countries. Unsustainable charcoal production can cause environmental degradation and burning charcoal releases black carbon, a potent agent of climate change.
Providing cleaner, more sustainable fuel alternatives to informally produced charcoal, and positioning them in a way that makes people buy and use them, is a difficult process. A key factor when choosing a cooking fuel is its price. Charcoal is largely an informal commodity, so local charcoal prices are not transparent to those outside the immediate value chain. This lack of price information can lead to market inefficiencies and the exploitation of local people and resources.
One tool that is missing from the current toolbox is transparent charcoal prices. A charcoal price index could provide this transparency. Accenture’s hypothesis is that better visibility of accurate, localized charcoal prices will enable stakeholders outside of the charcoal value chain to offer clean fuel alternatives at a price that competes with local charcoal.