Ross Brindle

Late last year, I had the privilege of working with the World LP Gas Association (WLPGA) and its member companies on something truly inspiring: Cooking For Life.

Cooking For Life is a global campaign to reduce death and illness caused by traditional, harmful cooking fuels used by millions of people worldwide. The campaign aims to transition one billion people from these fuels to cleaner burning LP Gas by 2030.

The Problem
Three billion people rely on traditional fuels—wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste—for cooking. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to indoor air pollution from this manner of cooking causes the deaths of four million people annually, more than the deaths from malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis combined. Burning solid fuels for cooking is also linked to concerns about gender development, deforestation, and the environment.

LP Gas: Part of the Solution
Many efforts are underway globally to address indoor air pollution, including efforts to develop and deploy cookstoves that do a better job of managing indoor air pollution from the use of traditional fuels.

LP Gas—a clean-burning fuel used for cooking and many other common needs in all parts of the world—offers another solution to this problem. Its chemistry means burning LP Gas produces almost no black carbon or particulate matter and lower amounts of other harmful emissions than other fuel options.

While transitioning one billion people may seem impossible, there is cause for hope. In Indonesia alone, more than 54 million households have transitioned to LP Gas cookstoves in just five years, helping to improve the air breathed by as many as 250 million Indonesians.

WLPGA had the vision to establish Cooking For Life and turned to us for help in creating a clear plan for achieving the campaign’s ambitious goal.

Roadmap to a Billion
Together, we developed the Cooking For Life: Roadmap to a Billion.

First, we worked closely with a working group comprising WLPGA staff and member company leaders to establish the roadmap development process and its boundaries—a non-trivial task given the massive scope and ambition of Cooking For Life.

Fig1_PathtoaBillion

We then conducted executive interviews with 20 industry leaders, including the CEOs of several of the largest LP Gas companies in the world. These interviews focused on the scope of Cooking For Life, the activities that WLPGA could take to maximize progress, and partnerships that WLPGA and its member companies would establish with other parties working to address similar goals. We also conducted a literature review to better define the need and opportunity for modern cooking fuels, identifying the countries with the largest opportunity for conversions.

Using this information, we developed preliminary Cooking For Life recommendations, which I presented to the WLPGA Industry Council during the 2013 World LP Gas Forum in London. Using the Industry Council’s thoughtful feedback, we prepared the Roadmap to a Billion report, which uses text and visuals to present the decisions made and the path forward for Cooking For Life. WLPGA launched the Roadmap to a Billion at the WLPGA Regional Summit “Exceptional Energy for the Andes” on January 29, 2014 in Cartegena, Columbia.

What’s Next?
WLPGA and its member companies are actively working together with national LP Gas associations and other partners such as Sustainable Energy For All to encourage national stakeholders to consider LP Gas conversion programs. In the near term (through 2017), WLPGA will be working to shift the global and national policy environment sufficiently to begin attracting significant commercial investment in LP Gas market development for cooking use.

In the longer term, WLPGA and its members will continue to assess how best to achieve the Cooking For Life Goal and update the Roadmap periodically. Given the passion and commitment I witnessed firsthand during this engagement, I expect that they will work with many partners on efforts both large and small to ultimately succeed.