Designing cookstove labels to influence consumer behavior in Ghana

More than 70% of Ghanaians use biomass fuel, such as firewood, charcoal, and agricultural waste for cooking, which exposes them to harmful air pollutants. Around 13,400 deaths occur per year in Ghana from smoke related illnesses attributable to household air pollution from the use of biomass fuel for cooking. Due to their high exposure to cookstoves in the home, children under the age of five are considered most vulnerable.

The government of Ghana plans to launch a new national performance standards and labeling program for improved cookstoves in an effort to increase the uptake of improved cooking stoves across urban and rural populations.


Cookstoves are used by almost all households in Ghana, including rural communities, though many of these users may not be familiar with energy efficiency labels and how to read them. Any potential lack of familiarity or misunderstanding of labels by consumers could present a risk to a standards and labeling program and broader clean cooking initiatives. Cookstove labels need to be easy to interpret and convey simultaneously two primary product performance measures: emissions, which convey overall health and environmental impacts, and efficiency, which conveys fuel savings and economic impacts.

In Ghana and around the world, the market for improved cookstoves and alternative fuels is nascent. Many national and international initiatives are already underway to make better cookstoves and alternative fuels available to Ghanaians, including private manufacturer initiatives through profit-based business models, non-governmental initiatives, and ongoing government initiatives. Most of these programs focus on the charcoal stoves used by approximately 32% of households. In urban areas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) has significant market penetration as a cooking fuel, with about 22% of households – or about 36% of the urban population – using LPG as their primary cooking fuel.


The government of Ghana recognizes the dire harm caused by open fires and traditional stoves and is seeking to transition consumers from traditional biomass stoves to improved stoves by developing and implementing performance standards and labels for biomass cookstoves.

What we're doing

The Coalition supported the Ghana Energy Commission (regulator for the energy sector including biomass fuels and end-use devices), the Clean Cooking Alliance and CLASP to transfer and apply best practices from energy efficiency labeling programs for on-grid appliances (i.e. electric appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators). A project was undertaken that consisted of two components: consumer research to inform label design, and tier-setting analysis.

Pollutants (SLCPs)