As an international biogas company, it is important for us to make sure that our anaerobic digesters, as well as our business model, are up to the highest quality standards. That is why we are working toward a Gold Standard for the Global Goals certification, a testimonial of best-practice standards in climate and sustainable development interventions.
Gold Standard was created by WWF and other international NGOs to ensure the highest level of environmental integrity. Looking to be a part of this important initiative, we presented a project for biodigester installation in rural areas of Kenya over five years, aiming to provide social, economic and environmental benefits for farmers, families, and communities. The biogas systems allow farms and households to transform organic waste into clean, renewable biogas, satisfying their energy demand while driving regional sustainable development.
We have been researching, surveying and planning for the certification since 2018. In this process, we came to some key findings. These speak not only of Sistema.bio’s current position in the Kenyan biogas industry but also of the impact our work will have in the long run.
Our work in Kenya contributes directly to achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). For Climate Action (SDG 13), the biogas generated by the biodigesters replaces the use of firewood, which in Kenya amounts to about 512kg per household a year. By providing an alternative source of energy, the use of biodigesters contributes to forest and biodiversity conservation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to our estimates, the project will mitigate an average of 204,831 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, provided we hit our mark of biodigester installation throughout the country. Between December 2018 and 2019 we were able to install 1,126 biogas plants in Kenya. Our goal is to install 84,226 biodigesters by the end of 2023.
On a different level, we have improved Health Conditions and Well-being (SDG 3). By removing firewood from kitchens, biogas systems reduce indoor pollution, which in turn reduces pulmonary diseases and fire-related injuries. In the vast majority of Kenyan households, women are the ones who handle the kitchen tasks, which means that indoor pollution primarily affects them and the children who join their mothers while cooking and cleaning. Women have always played a big role in Sistema.bio, which is why we have built alliances with women’s groups around Kenya in this process. With their help, we have been able to pinpoint women’s roles in Kenyan farming and the overall economy, which has translated into the training and deployment of women in our commercial and technician teams.
Finally, biodigesters provide clean and affordable fuel (Sustainable Development, SDG 7), eliminating monthly firewood costs (about 3200 KES, or USD 30 per household) and turning farm waste into family wealth. This specific goal is particularly meaningful for Sistema.bio since we are aware of the impact that clean, affordable fuels can have on the health of our planet and the people who inhabit it. With this Carbon Credit and the Gold Standard certification, we will continue to make clean cooking a reality for farmers around the world.
Carbon credits have been a part of our strategy from the beginning. Our first business plan, back in 2009, focused on carbon credits for their potential in helping us grow and expand, and our data collection methodology was designed with these certification processes in mind. We expect to be a Gold Standard Certified company by mid 2020, so we can continue to do what we do best: improve farmers’ lives through biogas.