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Carbon finance: start-up Burn raises $12m for clean cooking in Africa

TagsEnergy Access, Finance and Investment, Renewable Energy
clean cooking

Nairobi, Kenya-based start-up Burn has just raised $12 million. The carbon finance will be used to distribute environmentally-friendly stoves in at least eight African countries over the next few months.

With 950 million Africans still lacking access to clean cooking, Burn is banking on carbon financing to accelerate its activities in Africa. The Nairobi, Kenya-based start-up has just raised a $12 million investment from Key Carbon, formerly Carbon Neutral Royalty (CNR), based in Vancouver, Canada.

Burn will use this funding, backed by private equity firm Cartesian, to subsidise the distribution of biomass stoves in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Mozambique and Tanzania. But also electric stoves for households in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda. The company, which was founded in 2011, aims to impact the lives of 1.5 million people over the next few years with its environmentally-friendly solutions.

The alternative to deforestation

These environmentally-friendly stoves will “avoid more than 12 million tonnes of carbon emissions over the next seven years. Last year, Key Carbon provided us with $25 million in funding to enable us to provide affordable cookstoves to our customers and we are delighted to extend our partnership with Key Carbon, with the ultimate goal of raising $1 billion in carbon finance so that we can bring a clean cooking appliance to every household on the continent,” explains Peter Scott, founder and CEO of Burn.

In a country like the DRC, eco-friendly stoves help reduce the felling of trees, the wood from which is used to produce charcoal. According to the World Bank, only 3.7% of the DRC’s population had access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in 2020. In rural areas, this percentage was almost zero (0.5%).

However, the lack of alternatives to charcoal and firewood not only leads to tedious work and smoke-related respiratory illnesses, but also to constant degradation of the DRC’s forests, threatening the integrity of the world’s second largest tropical forest after the Amazon in Latin America. The challenge is therefore immense in the DRC, where the population is estimated at just over 100 million.