Reinvent the Toilet Expo and World Toilet Day 2018

9th November, 2018

On 6th of November 2018 I joined the opening panel at the first Reinvented Toilet Expo, organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Beijing, China. With smell recognized as the biggest barrier preventing people from using toilets, Firmenich announced its ground-breaking findings on how appealing odor can act as a driver of positive behaviour change. 

Firmenich also shared that, for the very first time, its breakthrough malodor control technologies will be reaching low income consumers across South Africa and Bangladesh before the end of 2018, integrated into affordable and sustainable toilet cleaning products. I firmly believe in the role of smell to unlock the full potential of the new toilet economy.

The toilet economy can only work if it is supported by positive behaviours and systems. That’s why we are very excited about our second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore the role and impact of odor in sanitation-related decisions. No matter how efficient and innovative new toilets can be, if bad smell prevents their usage, they will lack impact. Given the scale of today’s sanitation challenge, no single actor can solve it alone. 

That’s why Firmenich partners with a range of like minded organizations, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Toilet Board Coalition, as well as many of its customers and Governments. In the run up to the World Toilet Summit and World Toilet Day, Firmenich is inviting other businesses to join the new toilet economy, estimated to reach up to $200 billion globally, with $62 billion in India alone by 2021. Be it waste upcycling into organic fertilizers or biofuels, building and cleaning new toilets, or shaping smart health solutions, such as digital toilet sensors to detect diseases, this new market opens up a realm of opportunities for all sectors.

This is the time for industry leaders to engage in sanitation service delivery. Like water or electricity provision, Sanitation provides a unique business opportunity that aligns with companies driven by purpose. As industry, we all strive to make greater impact on our communities. In a World where 6 people out of 10 do not have safe sanitation services, we should turn that challenge into an opportunity to build a better world together.

As industry, we all strive to make a positive social and environment impact on the communities where we operate and beyond. In a World where 6 people out of 10 do not have safe sanitation services, we should together turn that challenge into a transformative opportunity for our companies making clean and safe toilets for all the new normal. Isnt’ it an essential human right we all want to fight for?

- Dr. Berangere Magarinos-Ruchat, Global Head of Sustainability, Firmenich, Toilet Board Coalition Vice-Chair