Posted on 14 September 2015
Basic Water Needs, a Dutch manufacturer and marketer of household water treatment products, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to distribute its Tulip table top water filters to more than 540,000 Malawians by 2018.
The company is establishing a new assembly plant in Blantyre, Malawi, which will provide full-time employment to ten women, and plans to train more than 100 women entrepreneurs to sell Basic Water Needs products through their own shops and local networks.
The Business Call to Action is an initiative hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that challenges companies to develop business activities that are inclusive of poor populations and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.
Worldwide, 110 companies have responded to the BCtA by making commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of poor people.
Base and middle of the pyramid
Basic Water Needs works in Malawi with two local partners, Safi water treatment solutions and Arkay plastics industry, on the local development and production of Tulip table top water filters.
The company aims to market its products through direct sales to reach customers at the base and middle of the economic pyramid.
Additionally the retail network of Arkay reaching more than 300 shops in Malawi; and partnerships with NGOs that will also raise awareness of proper hygiene and product use to reach Malawi’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.
Basic Water Needs projects that the initiative will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 150,000 tons.
More impact with whole supply chain
"At Basic Water Needs, we take our social responsibility very seriously and strive to make our whole supply chain sustainable, respecting both human rights and our environmental impact", stated Jens Groot, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. "We are honoured to join the Business Call to Action and look forward to working with both BCtA and our fellow members to strengthen the impact of our work."
According to Suba Sivakumaran, BCtA Programme Manager, every year two million people from low-income families – mostly children – die from preventable waterborne illnesses. "So there is a great need for safe, reliable drinking water in both rural and urban communities. Inclusive businesses like Basic Water Needs exemplify the ability to meet a critical development need with a viable business model that also builds markets and drives innovation.".
The incidence of water-related diseases in Malawi is high. According to UNICEF, diarrhea is the fifth leading cause of death among children under the age of 5. Yet the lack of infrastructure investment in the country is leading to a decline in access to drinking water.
In addition, approximately 67 percent of Malawi’s population does not adequately treat water to ensure it is safe to drink
Scaling up regionally
Locating the assembly plant in Malawi is part of Basic Water Needs' broader strategy to make low-cost water filters available for all income groups by helping to increase market share within the country as well as strengthen the regional distribution.
Currently, the company’s manufacturing takes place in India, making transport costs high for the comparatively low-cost Tulip table top filter.
Local manufacture will also enable the company to transport its goods to the 19 other countries of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), of which Malawi is a member.
In addition to scaling up regionally, Basic Water Needs is starting a similar initiative in Ethiopia. And there are plans to replicate the initiative in other important countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, by 2018.
About Business Call to Action
Launched at the United Nations in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a unique multilateral alliance that challenges companies to advance core business activities that are inclusive of poor populations and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.
Worldwide, more than 110 companies - including H&M, Ikea, Microsoft, Coca Cola, DSM and Philips healthcare systems.- have responded to BCtA by making commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions through commercially-viable business ventures that engage low-income people as consumers, producers, suppliers, and distributors of goods and services
The alliance is supported by several national governmental departments, including the Dutch Ministry of foreign affairs.
About Basic Water Needs
Basic Water Needs develops, produces and distributes safe drinking water solutions that are simple and affordable. Over the last 10 years, BWN has supplied water filters to more than 2,000,000 people worldwide.
The company developed a water filtration technology according to its principles: simple, affordable and available. This resulted in the Tulip technology, a candle filter based on ceramic gravity filtration combined with silver and activated carbon. This technology ensures that highly contaminated water becomes safe to drink for a sustained period.
This news item was originally published on the website of Business call to action.
Basic Water Needs
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
+31 85 488 47 52