Innovative Business Model
Case I - Shell Foundation - A case of Innovation for Rural Households - Improved Biomass Stove
Challenge/Problem: Creating a roadmap for a donor funded social marketing organization to become fully commercially sustainable
- The toxic emissions and smoke from cooking by burning biomass (like wood, crop waste and animal dung) claims as many as 400,000 lives in India every year, most of whom are women and children due to their increased exposure in the home
- Shell foundation invited MART to help understand existing cooking practices and develop a Biomass stove which uses solid fuel efficiently thus creating a cleaner cooking environment.
- We understood current practices from community on how they cook and with what utensils and developed specification for a prototype Improved Biomass stove.
- • Feedback from the community on the prototype in terms of usage and convenience was taken and expert opinions were taken from educational institutions for improving the fuel efficiency of stove and ways of limiting poisonous gas emissions.
- Once ready with product design, MART did the behavior change communication to make community aware of the benefits of the Improved Biomass Stove.
- Compared to traditional stove, Improved Biomass stove
- Emits 75% lesser smoke
- Consumes 65% less fuel
- Cooks twice as fas
Case II - HPCL RasoiGhar (Community Kitchen)
- Identifying rural markets for Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as urban markets were getting saturated
- Assessing acceptance of existing product in rural markets
- Understanding affordability issues - High connection cost of 14.2kg cylinder and high recurring cost
- Solving availability problem - The product was not available at consumer doorstep and the consumer had to incur additional transport cost for carrying big cylinder on his bicycle, which was also inconvenient
- Overcoming consumer myths about cylinder bursting and poor taste of food when cooked on gas
- Cooking fuel in rural India is mostly wood which women have to fetch from the forest, often spending an hour or more every day. Study undertaken by MART for HPCL in 8 states across India, found that the poor cannot afford LPG as the initial connection cost for a 14.2 kg cylinder is Rs 1,600 and the refill costs Rs 270. To address the affordability issue a 5 kg cylinder was introduced with initial connection cost of Rs 800. And refill cost of Rs 95.
- • Extension counters were opened in larger villages to make the product available closer to the villagers and the new product was promoted in haats (weekly markets) to create awareness. When even after these efforts sales did not pick up as expected. A subsequent study was conducted which found that the poor believed the cylinder was unsafe, it could burst or gas could leak and some felt cooking on gas could cause health problems as gas may get into the stomach through the food.
- To overcome these myths MART suggested a novel idea of a community kitchen (Rasoi Ghar) where women could experience the benefits of safe, clean and convenient cooking on LPG for a minimal fee, without having to make a heavy investment in a new LPG connection.
Results/Solution: On behalf of HPCL, MART has already set up over 1,600 community kitchens in 2,000-plus population villages in the states of UP, MP and Orissa, where women from the poorer sections have experienced the convenience of cooking with LPG in a pollution-free environment. Self Help Groups (SHGs) also set up `kitty' schemes where monthly contributions lead to women in turn acquiring their own 5 kg LPG connection.