Sanitation Economy 2019

Welcome to the Sanitation Economy

The Sanitation Economy is a robust marketplace of products and services, renewable resource flows, data and information that could transform future cities, communities, and businesses.

The Sanitation Economy is smart, sustainable, innovative, cost saving and revenue generating.

The Sanitation Economy links 3 distinct areas for business and societal benefit:

The Sanitation Economy is:

The Toilet Economy

The Circular Sanitation Economy

The Smart Sanitation Economy

Toilet Resource Calculator

Calculating the potential of human waste

Learn what you can produce

The Toilet Economy

Toilet product and service innovation that provides toilets fit for purpose for all contexts ad incomes. This spans centralised and decentralised, sewered and non-sewered, high water tables and low, low-income to high, rural, urban and perl-urban. Toilet designs apply the Circular sanitation Economy principals to minimise waste and GHG, and capture data to feed the Smart Sanitation Economy.

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The Circular Sanitation Economy

Toilet Resources (The TBC's preferred term for human waste) that feed into a system which replaces traditional waste management with a Circular Economy approach. It connects the biocycle, using multiple forms of biological waste, recovering nutrients and water, creating value-adding products such as renewable energy, organic fertilisers, proteins and more.

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The Smart Sanitation Economy

Digitised sanitation system that optimise data for operating efficiencies, maintenance, plus consumer use health information insights. Sanitation is included in smart cities architecture monitoring public toilet usage, sewage treatment, health indicators, and detects needs for maintenance and repair throughout the system.

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Business action

Leading companies are committing to bold actions to improve access and delivery of sanitation services, and in doing so are increasing the evidence base for new solutions to be delivered through the market in a transformative Sanitation Economy system - 21st Century Sanitation.

The Sanitation Economy is the business opportunity of the decade. Opportunities at this kind of scale don’t come along very often - 4.5 billion people, over half of the world’s population currently live without access to safe sanitation

Pioneering companies are bringing new solutions in the form of new product categories, new service models, biological resource recovery and re-use as well as digital health applications. All of which will deliver significant human impact and new benefits for business and society.

Companies & sanitation stakeholders globally are recognising that the only way to ensure that sanitation systems will be sustainable and resilient for future generations, is for sanitation infrastructure to be cost recovering and services delivered in partnership with the private sector.

Business can be part of the solution to ensure that we achieve SDG6, by joining forces with global governments and the global sanitation community to enable new models for sanitation systems that bring cost-recovery for governments and revenue generating opportunities for the private sector and commercial finance sectors.

Join the movement

The sanitation sector in developing countries has been dominated historically by the public sector and development agencies. Despite their best efforts, huge numbers of people still lack safely-managed sanitation. We must therefore harness the energy and ingenuity of the private sector. The concept of the Sanitation Economy is intended both to attract private sector interest and also to explain to other people the benefits of private sector involvement and thus reduce the barriers of misunderstanding that have hampered its uptake until now.

Jon Lane, Former CEO of the WSSCC & TBC VICE-CHAIR

Toilets that smell luxurious are not a luxury. At Firmenich we are convinced that scent plays a central role in the Toilet Economy, encouraging the use of safe toilets for all and we were committed to being part of the solution. In our work at the Toilet Board Coalition, working with entrepreneurs in India and Africa, we are also learning more about new opportunities for our business in the Circular Sanitation and Smart Sanitation Economies. We encourage our business partners across food and fragrance to join us in this exciting new journey to accelerate the Sanitation Economy.

Dr. Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat, Global Head of Sustainability, FIRMENICH & TBC VICE-CHAIR

The TBC’s new framing of the SANITATION ECONOMY touches all of the key priorities of Kimberly-Clark: Sanitation; Women & Girls; Innovation; and Sustainability. We are proud to join our TBC partners in our joint mission to accelerate growth in these important new sanitation economies and to stimulate the engagement of more of our business peers and supply chain partners to be the change. Creating new economies will require new collaborations across new ecosystems.


The findings confirm that the time is now for the private sector to engage in The Sanitation Economy, and in doing so, unlock significant benefits for our businesses and society. I hope that our fellow business leaders will see this opportunity and join us in accelerating The Sanitation Economy.

Charlie Beevor, VP Global Cleaning Products, UNILEVER & TBC CHAIRMAN

The sanitation crisis we have been facing for years really needs a broad mobilisation of actors. We know that if we only rely on implementing new sewer systems, many people will still have to wait a long time for sanitation. Sanitation entrepreneurs are bringing innovation and new solutions that will help in accelerating the development of access to sanitation. They are also bringing a Circular Economy vision with innovation, technology and new business models. Operators will gain from contracting with them and helping their solutions to scale up.

Pascale Guiffant, Former Vice President at SUEZ & TBC INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR

I commend the TBC and its research team for framing the Circular Sanitation Economy. I hope that the new, emerging and leading-edge business-led model will disrupt the market, create exciting opportunities, address the sanitation crisis and make the world a better place for all.


Introducing the Sanitation Economy is a timely and important contribution which helpfully advances our understanding of the potential global sanitation market. Private sector engagement is yet another positive outcome, as demand for products and services is generated through the behavior change of society. This is the exact model that the development world is seeking -community-based solutions that are government supported and commercially operated.

Chris Williams, Executive Director, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)

The vision of The Circular Sanitation Economy opens up the prospect of delivering universal access to sanitation and toilets, in new ways. This vision radically broadens the range of companies, investors and business sectors that would have an interest to address the sanitation crisis. As business leaders of the Toilet Board Coalition we call on our global business peers to include sanitation in your Circular Economy strategies, and in doing so, unlock vast benefits for our businesses and society.

Charlie Beevor, Vice President Global Cleaning Brands, UNILEVER & TBC CHAIRMAN

In nature, one species waste is another species food. The aim of the Circular Sanitation Economy is to do the same for industry by providing access to new materials, products, business models, commercial channels, and alternate sources of energy and water. The benefit to big companies, and small companies alike, is the potential for greater operational cost savings by reducing, recycling, and reusing materials, energy, and water. In addition, due to the regionality of the Circular Sanitation Economy, companies can expect to develop increased sales and customer loyalty by using local ecosystems and indigenous materials, to see increased strategic partnership with key suppliers, especially in local markets, and possibly more easily to access to capital in partnership with local municipalities. Lastly, companies participating in the Circular Sanitation Economy, as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts, can improve the reputation of their business, build better brand equity, and ultimately improve employee attraction, engagement, development, and retention. Essentially, the Circular Sanitation Economy is a new business model for industry, that uses the principles of nature to shift from scarcity to abundance while empowering local communities to solve the global sanitation crisis one region at a time, all around the world.

Pete Dulcamara, Vice President - Corporate Research & Engineering, KIMBERLY-CLARK CORPORATION, TBC Circular Economy Chair, TBC Partnership Council

Universal sanitation coverage and access is the need of the hour. Transformation from the linear approach to a circular approach to the Sanitation Economy is imperative for business development for the Sanitation Economy. We hope that this publication enables various stakeholders, including industry, toilet innovators and sanipreneurs to build new and scalable business opportunities in sanitation.


The Toilet Board Coalition’s work with entrepreneurs in Africa, who are developing new and innovative models to address sanitation, waste management and treatment, is very welcome. The new evidence outlined in this report, for the viability of these Circular Sanitation Economy cases in Africa, provides an important tool for our AfWA members, seeking solutions, across the continent. We are pleased to support this important work and to continue to partner with the TBC to accelerate these models in Africa in the near future.

Sylvain Usher, Executive Director, African Water Association (AfWA)

The sanitation crisis is enormous in its magnitude. As a result, we need to be creative and smart in our solutions, as traditional flush toilets and sewer infrastructure is not universal. As a toilet manufacturer, we believe that the technology and resources to tackle this issue already exist. Together with sanitation entrepreneurs and other actors in the field, we need to harness our capabilities and provide high quality innovative and sustainable solutions that will build confidence in these new sanitation models among users and municipalities. Doing so will help bring the Circular Sanitation Economy to life.

Jin Montesano, Chief Public Affairs, LIXIL CORPORATION, TBC Steering Committee

The sanitation market is uniquely positioned to trail-blaze as a segment of the economy that walk the walk. The future of the circular sanitation economy is one of closed loop systems that earn revenue while having a positive health and environmental impact. As the number of people with access to sanitation facilities and amount of waste generated increases, so too does the potential revenue from waste products. Now that's a win-win.

Portia Persley, Office of Water (E3/W), Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) & TBC STEERING COMMITTEE

Recognizing that any “waste” material has inherent value and that its use can create supply chain, environmental and social advantages is a key differentiator for The Toilet Board Coalition as they tackle issues of lack of access to sanitation. Applying the principles of the circular economy not only enables progress in this area, but carries with it other sustainability benefits related to water, carbon and waste as well. In addition, tackling the underlying systems issues associated with the value network, rather than the symptoms we see with a linear view, helps to ensure that the solutions are practical and sustainable through time. Because of this powerful model, we are working to bring more of our partners to the table to support the important and innovative work being tackled by TBC.

Lisa Morden, Senior Director, Global Sustainability, KIMBERLY-CLARK CORPORATION

Toilet Economy

Circular Economy

Smart Sanitation Economy