Interview with Carlos Glatt Russek, CEO and Co-Founder of Glatt Stove
How is Glatt Stove involved in the humanitarian aid and development sector?
Glatt Stove produces the simplest cook stove in the world that works with a liquid fuel containing a 90% volume of alcohol or above. The cook stove costs only 12 USD and is portable; hence you can cook whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you are. The cook stove works with any clean liquid fuel because the patent is in the engineering behind the stove and the combustion process, which allows for very efficient cooking at the same temperature as a conventional L.P Gas stove. The idea behind leaving the option of fuel open is to empower communities to use local fuel and considerably reduce costs.
Our mission is to provide a clean cooking solution for those who do not have a clean option for cooking because they live in poverty, the aftermath of a natural disaster or in a refugee camp.
How is Glatt Stove represented in North America?
We are currently working with the Safe America Foundation who is our bridge in the United States empowering the Safe America Cooking Can around the country. They have connected us with other organizations working in the humanitarian aid and the development sectors, with government institutions boosting our investigation process and promoting a safe, clean cooking method in the country and around the world.
What are the key projects being implemented in the region?
We are currently in negotiations with the state of Virginia to donate 1,000 cook stoves in a project to assist families who suffer from floods and other natural disasters. We are having conversations with different people at the UN to become a supplier and help people in developing countries, mainly in the Middle East’s refugee camps.
We are selling the cook stove through the Level Market, an American platform for humanitarian aid which makes the product accessible to anyone who wants to buy it in the US or around the world to use in any kind of project.
Carlos, what does your role entail?
As co-founder and CEO of this company my job is to promote the product around the world and get the big actors on board to create alliances and projects that will help millions. I am also responsible for a committed team that believes in the cause and wants to change the world, therefore I need to push outside the company and inspire and pull all of those involved to make this dream a reality.
What initiatives are you involved in?
Currently I am involved in every project as an initiator to give employees the proper initial boost. Last year we won a contest called Global Pitch@Palace promoted by the Duke of York and since then we have been meeting interesting people and organizations. We are currently sending samples to Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Swaziland) to experiment on the adaptation of the product to work with locally produced fuels. We are starting a big distribution project which involves wholesalers in Mexico to deliver to the most remote communities, and finally we are pushing the USA to work with other organizations in the development sector.
What are your main priorities for 2017/2018?
Our main priorities are to solidify the market in Mexico to increase our revenue and invest in other markets. The US market is our second priority because of the projects already established regarding natural disasters and refugee camps. Finally, we plant to export our product to African countries where there is an urgent need because of the critical conditions of many communities and the lack of cooking fuels.
What will your presentation at the Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit address and why is it important for those attending to engage in this topic?
I want to spread the word about a simple and scalable product that can save millions every year and can bring a simple solution in moments of desperation and chaos. Having a clean cook stove that works with several liquid fuels can be a solution that is adaptable to every community around the world while preserving their traditions and improving economic, social, environmental and health situations.
What are some of the latest trends/challenges you see in disaster response and disaster resilience?
I have seen a strong tendency to provide wholistic solutions to people meaning that many entities work together beforehand in an emergency to improve response time and provide an “emergency kit”. Also, I see a lot of experiments in resistant infrastructure because now we are suffering from stronger storms, winds and disasters leaving people without protection. And finally, the adaptation of conventional home appliances is booming due to the harsh conditions taking hold not only after a natural disaster but being left behind by war and conflict around the world.
What are the lessons learned related to those mentioned above?
For example, in the Burning Man art festival people are now doing experiments for tents that resist strong winds, rain, and high temperatures. If we see an opportunity in every experience then we will be able to help more people and respond on time. Also, working together is key to helping as many people as possible if everyone works for their own communities and for their own interests we won’t be able to take our products and services to where they are needed.
What is your impression of the upcoming Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit 2017?
It will be our first time in an event of this magnitude therefore we are very excited to meet others involved in humanitarian aid and to better understand how we can enter this market and help more people. I am sure that we will get the opportunity to have one or several projects with the major actors and take with us the simplest clean cook stove around the world.
Why is it important for you and Glatt Stove to engage in such events?
The cook stove market is already saturated but with heavy and expensive solutions, or half solutions that still require firewood. A problem of 3 billion people needs a simple solution that can be produced in large quantities and can use several fuels to avoid expensive transportation costs. We need to promote the product, work with organizations committed to help developing countries and make the technology available to have a bigger scope.
To summarise, what is the key message or learning from your work that you’d like to share with the AIDF audience prior to the Summit?
I would like to share that in Glatt Stove we have focused on creating alliances that are the only things that have brought us valuable information as well as projects that have taken our company from a door to door seller scheme to the present point where international organizations look to distribute our product in the most remote communities. We need to be part of this shared economy and provide knowledge and expertise in our own area, as a team we could innovate and improve people’s lives around the world.
Hear more about Glatt Stove directly from Carlos Glatt Russek, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, at 12.55 on 6 September 2017 at the Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit in Washington D.C. For more information about the Summit agenda, please visit disaster-relief.aidforum.org