دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 7761
عنوان فارسی مقاله

کوره های بهبود یافته در هند : مطالعه مدل های کسب و کار پایدار

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
7761 2011 14 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
Improved stoves in India: A study of sustainable business models
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 39, Issue 12, December 2011, Pages 7543–7556

کلمات کلیدی
- کوره های بهبود یافته - مدل های کسب و کار - سرمایه گذاری اجتماعی -
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله کوره های بهبود یافته در هند : مطالعه مدل های کسب و کار پایدار

چکیده انگلیسی

Burning of biomass for cooking is associated with health problems and climate change impacts. Many previous efforts to disseminate improved stoves – primarily by governments and NGOs – have not been successful. Based on interviews with 12 organizations selling improved biomass stoves, we assess the results to date and future prospects of commercial stove operations in India. Specifically, we consider how the ability of these businesses to achieve scale and become self-sustaining has been influenced by six elements of their respective business models: design, customers targeted, financing, marketing, channel strategy, and organizational characteristics. The two companies with the most stoves in the field shared in common generous enterprise financing, a sophisticated approach to developing a sales channel, and many person-years of management experience in marketing and operations. And yet the financial sustainability of improved stove sales to households remains far from assured. The only company in our sample with demonstrated profitability is a family-owned business selling to commercial rather than household customers. The stove sales leader is itself now turning to the commercial segment to maintain flagging cash flow, casting doubt on the likelihood of large positive impacts on health from sales to households in the near term.

مقدمه انگلیسی

Burning of biomass in traditional stoves is associated with a host of ills among the estimated 2.5 billion people around the world that do not have access to modern fuels (IEA, 2009). Indoor air pollution (IAP) from traditional biomass burning contributes to serious health problems, particularly cancer and respiratory infections that cause an estimated 1.6 million premature deaths annually (Naeher et al., 2007, Smith, 2006 and WHO, 2006). The time required for biomass collection can preclude formal employment outside the household for women, and the cost of purchasing biomass can weigh heavily on household budgets where formal biomass markets exist (Ramani and Heijndermans, 2003). Moreover, a growing body of literature suggests that incomplete combustion products and black carbon from traditional biomass burning have a significant contribution to climate change (Johnson et al., 2009 and Smith et al., 2000). Technologies are reasonably well-established for “improved cookstoves” that burn biomass more cleanly and efficiently, and could thus help mitigate the above problems (Hulscher, 1998 and Masera et al., 2007). However, after more than 25 years of effort, largely by governments and NGOs, less than a third of the total biomass-using population – an estimated 166 million households encompassing about 828 million people – has adopted an improved stove (UNDP/WHO, 2009).1 The Chinese National Improved Stove Program (NISP) has been the lone cookstove dissemination effort to achieve broad success at scale, distributing approximately 130 million stoves, most of which remained in use over a long period of time (Smith et al., 1993, Barnes et al., 1994 and Sinton et al., 2004). The Indian National Program on Improved Chulhas (NPIC), on the other hand, is often seen as emblematic of the kinds of things that can go wrong with government-run cookstove initiatives.2 NPIC was criticized for poor stove design, high program cost, and low uptake rates; by heavily subsidizing stoves, it also undermined pre-existing local markets for stoves (Barnes et al., 1993). NGOs have not had much luck either. Despite more than 25 years of effort, NGO efforts remain small-scale (Barnes et al., 1994). Numerous problems, including fragmentation of effort and insufficient attention to scalability and sustainability, have prevented such operations from expanding to serve a larger customer base (Edwards and Hulme, 1992 and Uvin et al., 2000). Overall, NGOs have not made a significant impact in increasing access to improved stoves; the vast majority of stoves now in use were distributed by government programs—particularly the Chinese and Indian programs (Barnes et al., 1994). The poor track records of government and strictly charitable efforts at large-scale and sustained diffusion of improved cookstoves have contributed to an increased focus on complementary commercial and market-driven solutions. In fact, the most successful stove program to date, China's NISP, combined a central push with locally coordinated efforts to create functioning markets for stoves. Similarly, the Kenya Ceramic Jiko (KCJ) charcoal stove is an example of an improved cookstove that has seen wide distribution on a commercial basis, with approximately 2 million stoves in use as of 2002 (Ministry of Energy, 2002). The KCJ was originally developed with substantial NGO funding in the early 1980s but over time has made the leap to commercial sustainability (Hyman, 1986, Hyman, 1987, Bailis et al., 2009 and Kammen, 2001). The emphasis on commercially sustainable solutions also reflects a broader shift in the conventional wisdom on how to improve the welfare of the poor, with donors focusing on catalyzing markets rather than providing indefinite support (Bailis et al., 2009). In this context, a hybrid model of a “social enterprise”, which attempts to blend a commercial approach in operations with relaxed requirements on returns in order to fulfill a social need, is increasingly being used (Borzaga and Defourny, 2001). Though the exact definition of a “social enterprise” is often left vague, commercial or semi-commercial operations offer the potential in theory of being both more scalable and more sustainable than fully subsidized efforts because they develop viable supply chains and customer-responsive business models rather than relying on centralized distribution mechanisms and ongoing funding support. Recently, organizations aiming to sell cookstoves commercially have emerged around the world, with operations in Latin America, Africa, South Asia, and the Asia Pacific region. However, there are few demonstrations thus far of self-sustaining commercial distribution of improved stoves, and there is a need to assess what would make commercial cookstove programs successful. As part of a larger study directed toward this need, this paper focuses on commercial cookstove companies in India, given that India has been a focal area for commercial cookstove operations. Reasons include its large population centers, relatively supportive and stable policy environment, comparatively well-developed infrastructure, and rapid economic growth. In particular, India offers a large potential market for improved stoves—approximately 75–100 million households (Venkataraman et al., 2010).3 An assessment of commercial approaches in India is especially timely as the Indian government considers various approaches for its newest biomass cookstove initiative (Venkataraman et al., 2010). Several fledgling efforts now exist to serve the Indian market on a commercial basis. The two companies that have achieved the largest market penetration had sold approximately 450,000 and 120,000 stoves, at the time of the June 2010 interviews on which this paper is primarily based.4 The goal of this paper is to perform an initial assessment of the progress of these and other commercial stove distribution efforts in India in order to extract broader insights into the conditions under which commercial business models for cookstove distribution might be able to overcome the obstacles to cookstove diffusion. We note that few of the efforts in India are at a sufficiently advanced stage to conclusively evaluate their performance. However, many of them have been in operation for long enough that their experiences thus far offer preliminary indications of the key factors that affect the ability both to achieve scale in improved stove sales and to be self-sustaining.5

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

Commercial cookstove efforts in India remain too immature and too few to allow a definitive assessment of whether such businesses are sustainable at scale over the longer term. However, the above comparison of the enterprises that do exist suggests some provisional conclusions. First, with the right combination of enterprise funding and management expertise, commercial cookstove operations in India have demonstrated their ability to scale up to stove distributions of at least several hundred thousand. Most encouraging is the fact that Company D and Company C have both managed to create a legitimate value proposition for consumers through well-designed, commercial products distributed through well-conceived supply networks. Neither company would have been able to distribute the stove quantities they have on commercial terms without offering something customers wanted to buy—in Company C's case an attractive, well-engineered version of a traditional technology, and in Company D's case an LPG-like fuel that was cheaper and more readily available than either LPG or purchased firewood. Many previous government and NGO programs simply failed to offer consumers anything that made a switch away from traditional cooking methods compelling. There can be a temptation to blame consumers for failing to recognize the health or other benefits of a new technology. Company D and Company C instead have respected the priorities of their potential customers and provided them with something they value on their own terms. Whether these companies ultimately succeed will depend on execution and whether their value proposition can actually be provided at a profit over the long term. Company C's business model is probably less risky, while Company D's is more revolutionary in trying to create an entirely new fuel supply chain. Second, commercial stove operations have encountered some harsh tradeoffs between financial sustainability and the ability to deliver substantial health benefits to a large population. Serving commercial customers offers better profit potential than serving households, in part because it avoids competition with government-subsidized fuel. However, focusing on the commercial segment also means forgoing many of the desired health benefits of replacing traditional biomass stoves in the home. Most of the companies in our sample remain focused at least in part on the household segment, but none of them reported being able to reach the poorest of the poor while remaining a commercially viable operation. Instead, the target household customers generally had higher incomes, which often meant that the improved biomass stoves were displacing LPG use rather than traditional biomass burning, further reducing the health benefits of commercial stove activities. Through its focus on marketing an incrementally better stove to rural buyers of biomass, Company C probably shows most promise for displacing significant traditional biomass burning while remaining financially sustainable. On the other hand, if organizations like Companies D and E can help develop robust and cost-effective supply channels for processed biomass fuel through a near-term reliance on commercial customers, these fuels could ultimately diffuse back into household markets and thus finally achieve the desired goal of reducing indoor air pollution. (Development of a processed biomass supply ecosystem based on agricultural waste could also provide increased revenue to farmers and climate benefits through limiting the burning of agricultural waste in the fields.) Third, though government assistance in the past has often done more harm than good in stove and fuel markets, it could play a useful role if policies are targeted and well thought-out. One potentially beneficial role could be to provide assistance in the upfront aspects of cultivating stove businesses, rather than in the provision of ongoing subsidies as was so damaging in the national stove program. The federal and state governments could also fund basic and applied research on stove technologies. Lump sum grants to companies in the early stages of stove business development might be useful as well, according to some respondents. The government might serve as an aggregator to help stoves receive carbon credit, as the Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) did in helping compact fluorescent light bulbs receive carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (MNRE 2009). The government could also play a useful role in publicizing the dangers of indoor air pollution and promoting stoves and cooking methods that would reduce it. Perhaps most importantly, as mentioned by several companies in our sample, the government could help create standards and perhaps even efficiency labels for cookstoves. The Energy Star program run by the BEE is one step in this direction. The current lack of objective standards in the market is a major obstacle for companies in differentiating their products based on quality and performance.18 As far as ongoing support is concerned, the most important advice to government from the companies interviewed was to eliminate or mitigate market distortions resulting from financial supports for alternatives to improved biomass stoves. As one example, Company D competes with heavily subsidized LPG on the supply of fuels and with biomass-to-power (subsidized through feed-in tariffs) on the procurement of raw material for fuel. To provide a level playing field, the government might look at either eliminating LPG subsidies or providing equivalent subsidies to biomass fuel for stoves,19 although caution would be necessary with the latter option to avoid creating still more unintended consequences. In other ways, too, the companies interviewed felt that the sustainable cookstove market does not get enough policy help, including because these stoves are not recognized as renewable energy devices. For example, Company C mentioned that it would benefit from more favorable tax treatment like excise tax exemptions on imports of stoves and stove components from China. Fourth, this study suggests some potential models for that hard-to-define entity that mixes business and charity, the “social enterprise.” The key success factor for the companies in our sample was patient upfront capital with low expectations for return coupled with urgency and acumen in developing and managing the supply chain. This is probably a good template for social enterprises more generally. The inevitable tension is that too-easy capital can diminish the urgency around making money in ongoing operations. For example, it is doubtful whether Company D's business would ever have become as lean and aggressive under Multinational X as it is now; at the same time, it would never have developed to the point it has without the generous support of Multinational X at the outset. One way to help maintain an aggressively bottom-line-oriented approach in supply chain development is by importing significant management and operational talent from the private sector—people who are so much in the habit of optimizing returns that they do not let up just because they find themselves in a “social” sector. If a few of these ambitious entrepreneurs are able to break through with scalable, sustainable, and replicable business models to serve the Indian stoves market, it may encourage the wider use of commercial models for serving the poor, even if not those truly at the “bottom of the pyramid”. We focused in this study on the Indian market for improved stoves, but the potential market for these products is global in scope. In subsequent work we seek to expand the current research to cookstove endeavors under way elsewhere around the world.

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