Globally, wood charcoal exported from all countries totaled US$1.33 billion in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 38.7% increase for all charcoal shippers over the five-year period starting in 2016 when exported charcoal was worth $962 million.
From 2019 to 2020, the value of globally exported charcoal grew by 7.2%.
Light gray in color, charcoal results from the slow heating of wood or other combustible substances in an oxygen-less environment. This process contrasts with the millions of years involved for coal, a black natural mineral and fossil fuel formed under the earth’s crust under high temperature and intense pressure.
Other differences are that charcoal produces more heat and is a cleaner fuel than coal. In addition to generating energy and producing heat for cooking, black powder from charcoal is used in creating purification filters as well as producing fireworks.
The 5 biggest exporters of wood charcoal are Indonesia, China, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam. Combined, that quintet of leading charcoal exporters sold over half (52.4%) of globally exported wood charcoal in 2020.
Among continents, suppliers in Asia exported the highest dollar worth of charcoal during 2020 with shipments valued at $698 million or more than half (52.3%) of the global total. In second place were European exporters at 28.4% while another 8.4% of worldwide charcoal shipments originated from Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Smaller percentages came from Africa (6.3%), North America (4.5%) and Oceania (0.02%) mainly Australia.