Call for Mentors to join Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and LIXIL accelerating Sanitation Businesses serving Emerging Markets
17 November 2022, Geneva – Ahead of World Toilet Day 2022 and in the wake of COP27 Water Day, global sanitation NGO the Toilet Board Coalition calls for a new wave of corporate mentorship to positively impact 1 billion lives, by supporting small and medium-sized sanitation enterprises (SMEs) to grow and scale. Four in five (83%) business leaders say they are keen to mentor [i]– equating to more than 100,000 potential new sanitation champions in the UK alone who could help accelerate business solutions towards the ‘sanitation and hygiene for all’ (SDG 6.2) 2030 deadline the world is so far struggling to meet [ii]. Taking action will support a basic human right – helping prevent some 829,000 deaths from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the next 12 months [iii].
This is the fundamental idea behind the Toilet Board Coalition’s vision and new roadmap to scale 1,000 thriving sanitation businesses – unlocking US$1 billion economic value and US$2 billion investment – improving 1 billion lives within the next eight years. The world’s current rate of progress towards SDG 6.2 must quadruple [iv], and the Coalition believes private sector collaboration is the answer. Through its world-renowned Accelerator programme, the Coalition provides corporate mentorship, business model design and access to investment for SMEs, fuelling crucial innovation. Essential for acceleration is the recruitment of multinational corporate (MNC) mentors whose business expertise and resources match with the needs of disruptive entrepreneurs and their communities.
The programme works – the Toilet Board Coalition has already scaled more than 50 sanitation businesses across 20 Asian, African and Latin American countries, impacting 2.2 million low-income individuals daily and unlocking US$22 million finance to date. A recent success story is that of Bangladeshi businesswoman Farhana Rashid. Her company Bhumijo received expert mentoring from Unilever on business model design – boosting its ability to construct, refurbish and maintain public toilets across the country’s cities in its vision for a healthier toilet marketplace.
Farhana Rashid, Founder at Bhumijo and Toilet Board Coalition Accelerator Alumnus, says: “When joining the Accelerator in 2020, we only had five toilets. Right now, we are operating 33 and have tested various different models to optimise our products – increasing both operations and revenue. We received a lot of support from the mentorship at the Toilet Board Coalition to develop our business case and design our services based on community needs – from toilets in parks, public places and hospitals.”
Shuchi Suri, Global Head of Household Cleaning and Hygiene at Unilever and Toilet Board Coalition Founding Member, says: “The Coalition’s new strategy brings a renewed focus for businesses like ours to support SMEs like Bhumijo. The Accelerator programme means both mentee and mentor learn from one another; Bhumijo had access to our strategic business advice, while our mentors experienced on-ground innovation and implementation. It’s been brilliant to see Bhumijo grow; not only is it a great business, but a new, scalable solution to the sanitation crisis. We look forward to working with many more businesses.”
Jenny Lewis, Vice President at the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and Toilet Board Coalition Incoming Chair, says: “The Toilet Board Coalition’s Accelerator sees entrepreneurial energy collide with MNC expertise to deliver sanitation in new customer-centric ways. SMEs are connected with investors who can unlock revenue streams. Governments can then adopt business solutions and implement at scale. Diverse stakeholder collaboration is vital to accelerate change, as public finance is not nearly enough – public-private partnerships (PPP) can transform the ‘unaffordable’ into a thriving Sanitation Economy.”
Erin McCusker, Senior Vice President, Leader at SATO and LIXIL Public Partners, and Toilet Board Coalition Chair 2019-2021, says: “The Toilet Board Coalition is uniquely positioned to amplify two key messages: the criticality of sanitation in achieving global goals across multiple issues and sectors, beyond SDG6.2, and the essential role that private sector actors of all sizes play in creating sustainable solutions and progress. The Toilet Board Coalition Accelerator connects engaged employees at MNCs like LIXIL with a network of ambitious entrepreneurs tackling the challenges in sanitation markets to support them with outside guidance and input at an early stage. Disruptive entrepreneurs are willing and able to build the next generation of climate-resilient sanitation products and services, accelerating the Sanitation Economy vision.”
Venugopal Gupta, Toilet Board Coalition Managing Director of Acceleration, says: “Our Accelerator strengthens and scales sanitation businesses, facilitating partnerships between members. What we have achieved so far is impressive, but not enough. The Accelerator has a proven record of bridging the gap between crisis and opportunity – the billions of people still lacking access to safe sanitation, and the billion-dollar markets awaiting organisations with viable solutions. The time to scale-up the Accelerator is now.”
Since its establishment in 2015, the Toilet Board Coalition’s efforts have pioneered a fresh approach to sanitation – the Sanitation Economy. With innovative, market-based business models and strategic collaboration, the Sanitation Economy provides sustainable, customer-centric products and services to everyone, everywhere. Smart toilet design, circular recovery of biological resources and digital technologies are leveraged to ensure safe and sustainable sanitation for all. Beyond the sanitation impact are positive ripple effects across livelihoods, food security and climate change mitigation.
Join to accelerate sanitation for all – visit toiletboard.org.
About Toilet Board Coalition
Founded in 2015, the Toilet Board Coalition accelerates business solutions to the global sanitation crisis. The Coalition facilitates vital partnerships between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), corporates, NGOs, investors and governments who share a commitment to achieve access to sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030 (SDG 6.2).
Through its world-renowned Accelerator, the Coalition provides business model design, corporate mentorship and access to investment to Sanitation Economy entrepreneurs serving low-income markets. To date, the Coalition has graduated over 50 SMEs, impacting more than 2.2 million people daily and unlocking US$22 million in finance. Our 80+ members’ diverse approach to sanitation proudly leads to essential innovation in toilet design, circular recovery of biological resources, and smart digital technologies to ensure safe and sustainable sanitation for all.
The Toilet Board Coalition and its work is made possible by the generous support of its membership. Learn more at www.toiletboard.org.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition and Ice Cream products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 3.4 billion people every day. We have 148,000 employees and generated sales of €52.4 billion in 2021.
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business.
The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while: improving the health of the planet; improving people’s health, confidence and wellbeing; and contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.
For more information about Unilever and our brands, please visit www.unilever.com.
Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) and its trusted brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 175 countries. Fueled by ingenuity, creativity, and an understanding of people’s most essential needs, we create products that help individuals experience more of what’s important to them. Our portfolio of brands, including Huggies, Kleenex, Scott, Kotex, Cottonelle, Poise, Depend, Andrex, Pull-Ups, GoodNites, Intimus, Neve, Plenitud, Sweety, Softex, Viva and WypAll, hold No. 1 or No. 2 share positions in approximately 80 countries. We use sustainable practices that support a healthy planet, build strong communities, and ensure our business thrives for decades to come. To keep up with the latest news and to learn more about the company’s 150-year history of innovation, visit kimberly-clark.com.
LIXIL makes pioneering water and housing products that solve everyday, real-life challenges, making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere. Drawing on our Japanese heritage, we create world-leading technology and innovate to make high quality products that transform homes. But the LIXIL difference is how we do this; through meaningful design, an entrepreneurial spirit, a dedication to improving accessibility for all, and responsible business growth. Our approach comes to life through industry leading brands, including INAX, GROHE, American Standard, and TOSTEM. Approximately 55,000 colleagues operating in more than 150 countries are proud to make products that touch the lives of more than a billion people every day.
Toilet Board Coalition Accelerator Programme
Toilet Board Coalition Communications Office
United Nations World Toilet Day, 19 November 2022: https://www.un.org/en/observances/toilet-day
The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (27 Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC), Water Day, 14th November 2022: https://cop27.eg/#/presidency/eventsThematicDetails/water-day