The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published new voluntary performance targets for cookstoves, defining benchmarks for efficiency, emissions, safety, and durability. These new targets replace the five-tier framework under the ISO’s International Workshop Agreement with a new, six-tier system that more accurately represents key performance of cookstoves and relates them to relevant impacts. The ISO’s report on targets supplements the first international standard for lab testing of cookstoves that was published in June.

The new targets are expected to serve as the basis for national policies and programs on cookstoves, and to incentivize manufacturers and developers to improve stove quality and design.

Five key facts to know about the voluntary performance targets:

  1. The targets only apply to cookstove testing results as specified by the ISO lab standard. Stoves must be tested with the new lab standard to determine where they rate under the voluntary performance targets. Results from other test methods cannot be mapped to the voluntary performance targets.
  2. The targets provide guidance on how to interpret results for efficiency, emissions, safety, and durability, but they cannot fully predict environment or health impacts, as there are many other relevant factors that influence emissions and exposure.
  3. For each indicator, cookstoves are rated from tier 0 (lowest) to tier 5 (highest). Tier 0 aligns with the performance of open fires.
  4. The indicators are designed to be reported separately as each is relevant for different impacts.  In other words, it would be incorrect to say that a stove is classified as “tier 5” – rather, a stove might be classified as tier 3 for thermal efficiency, tier 4 for safety, etc.
  5. The report can be purchased from ISO or from countries’ national standards agencies.

For additional information about the lab standard and voluntary performance targets technical report, and how they might impact your organization and work, please review FAQs here and an overview of the voluntary performance targets