Happy Birthday, Clean Cookstove Alliance

(Culinary Ambassador Chef Jose Andres examines a low emitting ethanol burning cookstove used in Haiti)

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves celebrated its one year anniversary yesterday at a packed reception in mid-town Manhattan. Representatives from the UN Foundation, State Department, and several private sector and NGO partners were on hand for the celebration.

There were lots of notable types in the room, like the Global Clean Cookstove Alliance Ambassador Chef Jose Andres (above), Ted Turner, and even a few Nobel Laureates. But the real stars of the show were the cookstoves themselves, which were on display throughout the room.

The aim of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is to create a market for the low emitting, healthier cooking products that were displayed throughout the room.

Here’s a solar cooker:

A clean stove being deployed in Darfur:

A charcoal stove

The news of the night is that Dow Corning made a very large donation to the alliance. Here’s the official release on that.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves announced today that Dow Corning has committed $5 million to its efforts to prevent unnecessary death, sickness and injury from toxic cook smoke by creating a global market for clean, affordable and accessible cookstoves and fuels.

Each day, approximately 3 billion people eat food that was prepared using inefficient cookstoves or open fires. The World Health Organization has categorized household air pollution as the fifth biggest health risk in developing countries, with two million people dying annually from acute and chronic diseases such as cancer, lung disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis and others.

“Dow Corning’s generous contribution to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves demonstrates their strong commitment to saving and empowering lives in this sector, and their leadership in sustainable development,” said Radha Muthiah, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. “We are also excited to tap Dow Corning’s research, design and testing expertise, as they will be invaluable in helping the Alliance bring the deployment and use of clean cookstoves to scale.”

Last year, Dow Corning’s Citizen Service Corps gave 10 employees a month-long opportunity to volunteer in Bangalore, India. The employees worked with three non-governmental agencies, two of which had a direct link to clean cookstoves: one to develop quality control systems and improve the supply chain for manufactured energy-efficient cookstoves, the other to research and analyze the needs and demands of rural customers when buying energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cookstoves to develop a more effective marketing and sales plan.

“Our commitment to the Alliance will allow us to explore how to use our technology, business and innovation expertise to provide a valuable contribution to improve and even save lives of those exposed to smoke from traditional cookstoves, especially women and children who spend hours each week collecting fuel, often in dangerous circumstances,” said Bob Hansen, President and CEO of Dow Corning.

Since launching in September 2010 at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Alliance has moved rapidly to position the cookstoves sector to achieve unprecedented global progress through strong financial commitments, in-depth market analyses, expert recommendations and high-profile ambassadors, among other activities.

Representatives from the United Nations Foundation, Dow Corning, the State Department and others from the Alliance’s 175-plus national, corporate and nonprofit partners will gather at a reception tonight to celebrate Dow Corning’s commitment and the Alliance’s one-year anniversary.