Sustainable Charcoal business is a hot topic in Tanzania. Turning agricultural waste to an environmentally sustainable source of energy can slow deforestation and become a socially sustainable source of income.
Over 90% of the households of Dar es Salaam use charcoal for cooking, which contributes to 350 hectares of forest disappearing every day. Charcoal and firewood are the primary source of energy and biggest contributors to climate change in Tanzania.
Gaia and its partner ARTI Tanzania have created a new business model that enables a switch from wood to agricultural waste as the raw material of charcoal. The model is based on distributed carbonising units and locally set up Community Based Enterprises that benefit the local communities in many ways.
The charcoal activities of Gaia and ARTI resonated well with the theme of last week’s ministerial visit by Minister Alexander Stubb and Minister Heidi Hautala to Tanzania. The mission included a business delegation and highlighted how sound business plays an important role in development results.
"Our project with ARTI is one of the most interesting innovative energy projects and has huge relevance in Tanzania", says Pasi Rinne, Chairman of Gaia, who participates in the ministerial delegation.
"Tanzania's economic growth is among the fastest in the world. Growing economy, growing population and expanding industry require more energy. Alternatives to charcoal, firewood and fossil fuel based energy sources are at demand. Gaia and its clients will have more and more opportunities in countries like Tanzania", notes Rinne.