Green Generation (GreenGen) is a company selling biomass cookers to remote areas in Northern Viet Nam. The company was established in 2012 as a joint stock company and has scaled-up its business since 2015. The company’s senior management has a strong strategic intent for using an inclusive business approach to provide solutions for the efficient use of renewable energy, especially biomass energy, for low-income people in rural areas of Viet Nam.
The business model is based in the observation that in rural Viet Nam over 60 per cent of households still use traditional open-fire wood stoves for their cooking needs to prepare food for the people and for animals. Poor and low-income households prefer firewood and agricultural residues (such as rice husk, straw, corncob, and leaves) over cooking gas due to lower costs, especially for long-term cooking purposes, and better availability. However, there is low public awareness about health and environmental risks caused by inefficient burning of biomass. Green Generation developed an affordable improved cookstove that is appropriate and relevant for the cooking needs of the poor. The business model of the company is a service model, where the company engages the B40 as consumer.
The product is highly relevant to improve the living conditions of the B40 and reduce their daily costs for cooking. Customers are mostly the poor and low-income families. Each cookstove is retailed at the price of VND 180,000-350,000 ($7-$15) depending on the size of the unit, which is very affordable for low-income people. Using GreenGen stove saves 50-60 per cent of firewood compared to traditional firewood stoves. As most of the inputs used is residue biomass (such as fallen branches), using biomass is typically cheaper in rural areas. The stoves also reduce cooking time, which is usually the task of women and children, and the exposure to harmful indoor smoke thanks to efficient combustion. The company currently employs 12 full time workers in the production line (and 20 in high season), most of them are low-skilled and aged people.