How could Consumerium Services help solve Haitis deforestation due to charcoal production? To understand that, consider how many Haitians actually get their groceries:
- one billion dollars per year are paid to grocery services that take money from Haitian emigrants in cities like Montreal, Canada and deliver a load of groceries anywhere in Haiti - typically at well marked up prices.
- one US$5/hour job is enough to pay for enough groceries to keep 47 people in one family in Port-au-Prince alive; an astonishing ratio, the food being mostly rice and beans - foods which require a lot of cooking water and cooking fuel which the delivery services do not handle;
One in two Haitians is malnourished, one in ten starving, as of early 2004. "Cookies" made of margarine and clay can be purchased in the markets.
Consider these possibilities:
- high efficiency stoves that provide lots of heat from scrap wood or peat fuel instead of charcoal, and which can be sold through grocery services to Haitians supporting their families
- fuel oil sold also through these services at prices that sidestep the corrupt Haitian infrastructure
- alternative foods that require less cooking heat to prepare
This is a good test problem since Consumerium buying signals need to reach out into remote areas, to have positive impact for poor people, but these are not typically the people doing the Consumerium Service access themselves. So it's an agency problem where one must act to reduce the impact of some other. But there is tremendous impact possible since up to 50 people might be changing their buying habits at once, making it more like institutional buying criteria.