Marketing of stoves through social networks to combat indoor air pollution (Policy Brief)

  • Improved cookstoves (ICSs) can have positive impacts on reducing indoor air pollution (IAP), which can be a cause of acute respiratory infections and therefore childhood death. Biomass combustion within households are through to be the main contributor towards indoor air pollution. However, half of the world’s population continues to rely on biomass as their primary source of energy.
  • Despite efforts to promote the adoption of ‘improved cookstoves’, there is still low uptake of ICSs. This study seeks to address the low uptake and provide recommendations regarding how best to allocate resources to improve uptake. The authors conduct a series of interventions in rural Bangladesh to estimate effectiveness.
  • Most respondents were knowledgeable regarding the hazards of IAP, and thus an information gap is not to blame for low uptake. Women are more concerned with health-related technologies than men who are more concerned with cost. Individuals place more importance on their own experiences than “opinion leaders”, especially if the technology is easy to understand.

Key policy recommendations:

  • Any marketing campaign of ICSs should not focus on informing the target population about the hazards, but rather be tailored to address specific demandside aversions present in the target market.
  • People are risk-averse about new products. Ofering a warranty risk-free trial period on ICSs would encourage continued adoption
  • Women are typically more interested in stoves but unable to act when they do not control the budget.