Sustainable Company Awards 2023

Community involvement programme of the year, APAC: Infinite Environmental Solutions

In collaboration with several non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Infinite Environmental Solutions launched Project Anand to tackle problems with traditional cooking methods in rural Indian communities.

The project introduces improved cookstoves to these communities to help abate high fuel consumption, indoor air pollution, and the deforestation associated with the traditional stoves. The aim is to empower women, improve health outcomes, protect the environment, and promote sustainable development.

Project Anand saw 10,000 clean cooking stoves distributed across the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, with the prime objective of alleviating the burden on rural households. Traditional biomass cookstoves are generally fuel inefficient and require extensive collection of fuelwood.

As well as decreasing the need for deforestation, the higher thermal efficiency of the new cookstoves results in cost savings for households through new reduced need for fuelwood.

Since its launch in 2021, the project reports its the distribution of 10,000 cleaner stoves has seen 25,368 tonnes of firewood saved per year and 1095 labour hours saved in cooking and collecting wood – a role commonly carried out by women.

Project Anand embarked on a programme of community engagement before the project commenced, which continues after the distribution of the stoves. This has included training sessions on how to use and maintain the new cookers, the importance of indoor air quality as well as the regular collection of data on how the stoves are working to ensure any problems that occur are swiftly resolved.

One Environmental Finance Sustainable Company Awards judge described the entry as "distinguished in elaborating how the community involvement and empowerment has been ensured in the course of the project," but noted that "it requires more technical assessment of how much deforestation is actually prevented".