Charcoal is one of the main sources of domestic energy in Ghana. Around 80% of the rural population is dependent on wood fuel as their primary source of fuel, while charcoal is the primary source of fuel for more than 50% of the population living in urban areas. Given the projected growth of the urban population in Ghana, charcoal use in the short and medium term, will continue to be an important source of household energy for cooking particularly in urban areas of the country.

Because the majority of the charcoal is not produced sustainably, there are serious negative impacts on the natural environment. Incomplete combustion and smoke, in particular when used in traditional unimproved stoves, has important health implications for the primary users, women. Children are often affected either when used in the production process or by spending a lot of time being exposed to smoke in in-door situations.

Faced with this situation, a first step towards a more long-term sustainable provision of cooking fuels, it is important to improve the production and use of charcoal while achieving sustainability across its entire value chain. Doing so will provide people with cleaner charcoal, that is produced sustainably and used more efficiently in improved stoves, will reduce emissions and deforestation, create jobs and livelihoods, improve health and result in cost-savings.

The study was produced with funding from the UNDP Regional Bureau of Africa Regional Environment Project and the MDG-Carbon programme with the generous contribution provided by the Government of Australia.


  • SDGs
  • NAMA
  • Africa
  • Urban
  • Energy
  • Ghana
  • Mitigation
  • Climate Change
  • Energy Efficiency