The Business of Changing Lives

The Paradigm Project is a social enterprise founded on the premise that business can be used as a tool for good. Since 2008, Paradigm has been continually refining a replicable, scalable social business model that addresses seven key Sustainable Development Goals, including:

  • SDG 1: No Poverty: $61 million USD in household income saved in reduced fuel costs.
  • SDG 3: Good Health: $42 million USD in reduced household health expenditures with 99% of families reporting significantly reduced incidence of lower respiratory disease.
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality: 65 million productive hours repurposed by women and girls. 70% of local workforce hiring focused on women, including key management positions.
  • SDG 6: Clean Water: 98% of families report increased access to clean water; 76% of families report a reduction in incidence of water-borne diseases.
  • SDG 7: Clean Energy: 300,000+ clean energy products serving over 1.5 million people distributed to date.
  • SDG 13: Climate Action: 1 million+ tonnes of GHG emissions avoided.
  • SDG 15: Land Use: 3.8 million trees saved from deforestation.

To date, for every $1 invested, we have been able to produce roughly $12 in value alleviating poverty, sustaining the planet, and improving the health and well-being of our customers. Paradigm, an early partner to the Alliance and a collaborator on the Alliance’s Women’s Empowerment Fund, is helping to transform the clean cooking sector.

The Model

What we do is simple in form and quite ambitious in execution:

  1. We build last-mile distribution networks to serve low-income customers at the base of the economic pyramid or “BOP” under our “EzyLife” brand.
  2. We sell efficient stoves, solar lights, water filters, and other socially-beneficial products directly to customers, often through low-cost financing mechanisms.
  3. We sell carbon credits generated through the use of those socially beneficial products to fund our consumer financing program and to accelerate growth.

Of the 4 billion people at the base of the economic pyramid, more than 3 billion still cook every meal over an open fire, resulting in devastating effects to the environment and the health of women and children. More than 90% of energy consumption in rural Africa is wood or other biomass. At 30 to 35% of income, energy ranks third in household expenditures, trailing only food and housing. Efficient stoves are an excellent way for a family to reduce monthly household costs.

Layering a carbon offset program over this distribution business produces an independent revenue stream that enables us to provide payment terms to our low-income clients and to accelerate growth into more and more hard-to-reach places.

Expanding on a Model of Success

Paradigm has been recognized as one of B-Corp’s “Best for the World” for four years running, and was named America’s Most Promising Social Enterprise by BusinessWeek in 2012. In 2013, Paradigm was named a United Nations Lighthouse project. Despite our success, we’ve still got a long way to go address energy poverty around the world.

We have a vision to serve 100 million people at the BoP over the next 10 years, and we’ve built a scalable, replicable business model to achieve this goal. We now need smart, forward-thinking partners who are willing to invest in Verified Emission Reductions to help fund the growth of this revolutionary model. With your help we can grow this unique model to effectively, efficiently and profitably serve the needs of the poor all around the globe.