Abel Barasa, an early friend of ECO2LIBRIUM’s Executive Director, once said, “It’s difficult to conserve on an empty stomach.” A true sentiment, indeed, especially in one of the most densely populated and impoverished places on the planet, Kakamega. A place also home to one of the most vibrant, however threatened, ecosystems in the world Kakamega Forest. Barasa’s words became part of the fabric of ECO2’s mission, and to be successful ECO2tailors each of its business models in a way to make certain that the conservation of natural resources is more appealing than the exploitation of natural resources.
ECO2LIBRIUM (ECO2), is a B Corp certified social enterprise based in Kakamega County in Western Kenya. The company applies business solutions to solve social, economic and environmental problems, by engaging primarily in energy and forestry related enterprises.Eco2 is currently working with more than 80 community groups (mostly women) in three projects namely: energy efficient cook-stove project, renewable biomass briquettes, and solar energy project. Eco2 works for conservation through local entrepreneurship, poverty reduction and empowerment.
Stoves for Life project(SFL) has installed energy efficient cook stoves(Upesi stoves) in more than 46,000 households in Western Kenya. This project continues to cut down forest wood use by half, reduce the time and money spent collecting wood, provide annual incomes to over 500 local people, and has reduced forest wood consumption by more than 50,000 tons (equivalent to 160 acres) per year. This has a positive contribution towards the conservation of Kakamega Forest, the only tropical rainforest and Kenya’s remaining part of Africa’s once famous Guinea-Congolian rainforest.
Eco2’s renewable biomass briquettes replace wood charcoal which is not sustainable and is also a contributor to forest destruction. The briquettes are made from biomass waste called bagasse, which a fibrous biomass resulting from the commercial production of sugar. This product surpasses other biomass fuels like charcoal in lighting ability and burn time, and is manufactured from a sustainable and renewable source, and reduces GHG’s. Charcoal is the most common and primary fuel in urban households, institutions like hospitals, and restaurants and the most common secondary fuel in rural areas. Briquettes project addresses the unsustainable charcoal production by providing an environmental friendly alternative fuel and thus, slowing down the rate of forest degradation.