CESPA’s Constituent General Assembly, unveiling promising pathways for development for the Improved Cookstove sector in Cambodia

Registered with the support from GERES in 2004, the first Cambodian business association in the Improved Cookstove (ICS) sector, recently renamed CESPA (Cambodian Efficient Stove Promotion Association), has been striving for the past decade to structure and develop the ICS market in Cambodia by gathering producers and distributors (300 members to date) and defending their interests with one single voice. After 13 years of technical and financial support from GERES thanks to Carbon Finance, time has come for CESPA to become fully independent and reach its long-term sustainability.

In partnership with the Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Development (CIRD), GERES is therefore providing final technical assistance to the association during a 3-years project. Following the initial discussions held by the project team with the Board of the association, it was decided to operate an in depth reshaping and rebranding of CESPA. To better address members’ needs and objectives, the challenge is to strengthen its operational model and to transfer full ownership and governance to its members with revised articles and governance structure.

9 members of CESPA were elected to be part of the new Steering Committee.

In that regard, the Constituent General Assembly of CESPA was a major milestone of the project. The event, organized in Kampong Chhnang on March 31st, gathered a hundred members who voted for a new governance structure involving the leading members (both producers and distributors). The members also elected their new president, VAN Tola, a woman entrepreneur who registers the biggest production of ICS in the country. Moreover, the participants agreed on a revised and sustainable business model for the association, introducing a new membership and service fee per unit sold. This fee will translate into a slight increase in the final selling price of the stoves, which will be compensated by a new competitive advantage provided by the creation of a unique quality label advertised through a wide-scale communication campaign. During the Assembly, the members also decided to register the CESPA trademark, to renew the association’s visual identity and to further develop services for members.

The empowerment of the Improved Cookstove supply chain is part of the 3-year project called “Support the Emergence of Sustainable Supply Chains in the Domestic Energy Sector” (SEFED,  cofunded by AFD and implemented by GERES. The other side of the project aims to support forest communities in the production and promotion of sustainable charcoal in Cambodia in order to support the development of environmental-friendly biomass-energy supply chains for domestic cooking in Cambodia.

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