Carbon Roots International is a social enterprise, earning revenue while creating social and environmental impact.
CRI's value chain begins with the supply chain, where CRI purchases agricultural waste from local farmers and small-scale processors, and transports it to a production factory in north Haiti. At the factory, CRI subjects the organic biomass to the process of pyrolysis, effectively carbonizing it into charcoal dust. This dust is then mixed with a natural binding agent, and pressed into fuel using commercial briquetting machinery. After drying, the resulting green charcoal briquettes are packaged and transported to distribution points in Haiti's two largest cities, Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien.
The product is eventually sold to customers directly, wholesalers, or through independent women retailers. As demand and the market for green charcoal grows, CRI recruits and trains women to become retailers, providing them with business skills and an earning opportunity that exceeds other income-generating activities available to most women in Haiti.
The market for charcoal in Haiti is large for a country of just 10 million people. It's estimated that Haitian households consume 1.5 million tons of charcoal per year, with an estimated value of at least $200 million per year.
Globally, over 2.5 billion people rely on solid fuel, over half of whom are engaged in agriculture and located in countries largely reliant on charcoal. For the majority of the world’s charcoal-reliant households, the cost of most clean energy solutions continues to be prohibitive and/or technologically inappropriate. The potential market for a viable replacement for charcoal fuel, such as green charcoal, is likely worth billions of dollars annually.