The Wonderbag: a recipe for social change

The Wonderbag is a revolutionary, non-electric heat retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to the boil by conventional methods to continue to cook for up to 12 hours without using additional energy usage.

Background

The most common way of cooking in South Africa is using an electric stove, with the majority of households and organisations being connected to the national grid. Managed by Eskom, the energy that is supplied is largely generated from coal, a fossil fuel and a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions.

Cooking with a Wonderbag significantly reduces cooking times and energy use, leading to electricity savings and the reduction of emissions. It also prevents the use of other polluting and dirty energy sources like charcoal, gas, paraffin, and wood, which also drives down greenhouse gas emission.

Formed in 2007, Natural Balance Global PTY (Ltd) is a South African social enterprise that owns, manufactures, and distributes Wonderbags throughout the world. In South Africa, Natural Balance has registered the Wonderbag project as a carbon offset project, unique to any other carbon offset project in South Africa.

The Wonderbag project

The Wonderbag has significant sustainable development benefits. Firstly, the program creates employment in South Africa, where the bags are used in large numbers. Secondly, field surveys indicate that users of the bags have reduced fuel bills and finally, there is published evidence that reduced consumption of fossil fuels drives down illnesses caused by fumes, smoke, and soot. a

Wonderbag users also experience an improvement in the quality of life, child-care activities and overall productivity. In countries where firewood and charcoal are the main cooking fuels, the Wonderbag plays an important role in fighting deforestation. The long hours associated with firewood collection (and safety risks) are significantly reduced. Cooking with a Wonderbag also leads to a lower water usage due to reduced evaporation.

Carbon Credits

The Wonderbag project is registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), thereby allowing companies to credibly offset their carbon emissions whilst making a sustainable social impact in South Africa. The Wonderbag’s environmental impact is measured and monitored by internal and external researchers and audited by independent auditors as required by the VCS guidelines.

Key SDGs impacted

Benefits
  • The Wonderbag reduces fuel costs by some 40%, creating further disposable incomes
  • Water consumption is reduced by nearly 80%
  • Deaths and injuries caused by fires and burns in the home are minimized
  • Deforestation reduced by up to 60%
  • A reduction in cooking times means more productive time and drastically reduces respiratory illness and deaths amongst children, which is caused by indoor air pollution
“If used only three times a week, a Wonderbag can prevent the emissions of half a ton of CO2, every year”.
Achievements
  • Wonderbag was showcased at the 2013 World Economic Forum held in Davos
  • Wonderbag was accredited by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to contributing to the reduction of greenhouse effects in Rwanda
  • Wonderbag was awarded 1st place by the Climatic Change Leadership Awards in the category for Greenhouse Gas Emission Savings.

Did you know?

The Wonderbag Carbon Credits are eligible for use under the South African carbon tax, providing companies the opportunity to reduce their carbon tax.