Cooking for Cleaner Air
How can individuals who are strapped for resources also focus on the huge challenge of environmental impact? In South Africa, the Wonderbag Clean Development Mechanism is helping by distributing an easy-to-use cooking tool that can significantly decrease carbon monoxide emissions, one of the main contributors to global warming. Wonderbag came to frog to design a mobile technology system that can document the demographics of people using the product, while also tracking the total carbon offsets created from using it.
frog teamed with South African company Wonderbag to create a mobile app that can track the energy and CO2 savings gained from using their innovative heat retention bag.
The tool at the center of the Wonderbag system is a heat retention bag designed to reduce the use of electricity, gas, paraffin, and wood needed for cooking in South African households, particularly in underserved areas. By placing hot meals in the bag where the food continues to cook safely, users can save on fuel costs. This in turn decreases demand and gives much-needed relief to local energy companies, all of which significantly decreases carbon dioxide emissions caused by fossil fuels.
Data Tracking for Environmental Impact
To help Wonderbag collect demographic and other data from the use of their product, frog developed a mobile app that can track usage patterns, calculate carbon savings, and generate reports on both. It also allows distribution agents to collect data on a low-end mobile handset while in the field. They can create profiles and usage information of people receiving the Wonderbag, which they then quickly upload to Microsoft's cloud platform in the UK (Microsoft is another partner on the project).
“From there, data is available via a Web interface to authorized Wonderbag representatives, sponsors, and
partners,” frog senior business development manager Emile Rossouw, told a reporter for the South African tech site ITWeb. “Data is represented in various formats, from simple grouped lists to complex usage and carbon savings reports.”
Getting All the Way to the United Nations
The information collected with the app helps Wonderbag create a valuable database that tracks company impact, provides customer support, and draws outside corporate sponsorship. It also allows the company to show that its efforts meet ambitious carbon offset targets set by the United Nations, meaning that Wonderbag can receive carbon rebates and trade on the European Carbon Exchange.
Typically, only large businesses qualify for carbon trading, but with the scalable system frog helped created, Wonderbag is able to leverage carbon trading for financial sustainability, and an even more effective environmental impact.
True innovation is creating ecosystems of change that enable people to change their behavior. With its work on the Wonderbag project, frog was able to do just that for the environment, while also helping to sustain cultural traditions.