Who Gives A Crap: Toilet paper that builds toilets

Who Gives A Crap: Toilet paper that builds toilets

Papua New GuineaFitzroy, Australia
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Who Gives A Crap: Toilet paper that builds toilets. We sell environmentally friendly toilet paper and use 50% of profits to build toilets and improve access to sanitation in the developing world!

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

2.5 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet. That’s roughly 40% of the global population. Lack of basic sanitation is a huge problem in terms of healthcare and disease prevention. This problem isn't exactly 'sexy' in the world of international aid and we think it is too often overlooked. We also think that the traditional charitable model is too reliant on donations and is not a sustainable way of engaging consumers.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our solution is to sell fun, beautifully packaged, environmentally friendly toilet paper and use 50% of the profits to build toilets in the developing world. From our first donation to WaterAid we worked out that every roll provides someone with access to a toilet for one week. We are tackling this problem from the bottom up (pun intended). Our toilet paper is sold online and delivered straight to your door (in boxes of 24 or 48 rolls), anywhere in Australia. We also sell to businesses such as cafes, cleaning companies, yoga studios and offices to help meet a growing demand for ethical, eco-friendly products.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1 - On the ground Our first profit distribution, based on sales after our crowd funding campaign to 30 June 2013, helped WaterAid to build a toilet block for a school in a remote community in Papua New Guinea (more details in a following Q) 2 - A better call to action We give an example of how to tackle a serious problem in a non-serious way. It's about making people feeling good for being part of the solution, rather than feeling bad about the extent of the problem. 3 - Making a difference in the way people donate and engage in philanthropy We make a difference to the ways our customers support a cause - instead of giving once off donations, we allow them to give as a part of their regular spending
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are currently no other comparative products on the market. There are other brands of recycled toilet paper in Australia, but none which offer online ordering, subscriptions or home delivery. There are also other products such as 'Thankyou Water' that donate part of their profits to charity but none which apply to such a basic, widely used commodity as toilet paper. We think our hybrid approach of creating an eco-friendly, ethical, innovative and cleverly marketed product sets us apart from our competitors.
About You
Organization:
Who Gives A Crap
About You
First Name

Simon

Last Name

Griffiths

About Your Project
Organization Name

Who Gives A Crap

Organization Country

, VIC, Fitzroy

Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

We've always been passionate about tackling the problem of sanitation - but we wanted to do it in a fun and engaging way. The "aha" moment was when we realized that toilet paper was a recurring expense for people in the developed world - what if we could redirect some of that to build toilets in the developing world! The second "aha" moment was when we came up with the name of "Who Gives A Crap" - a non-serious brand-name to tackle a serious problem. So in July 2012, we launched an IndieGoGo campaign to test the idea. The campaign went viral - the amount of support and enthusiasm from the community showed us that people really could be made to care about their toilet paper and about making a difference with everyday purchases.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Sanitation and Hygiene.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Our current customers are environmentally conscious, affluent Australian consumers. We reach them though social media, e.g. our crowd funding campaign generated over 2,5 million social media impressions and $58,000 of preorders. As our customers receive our toilet paper they have virtually and physically shared it with their friends, which has helped us to grow virally.

Toilet paper is something that everyone needs, so everyone can be part of the solution - we're a mass market product.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Our first profit distribution helped WaterAid to build a toilet block for a school in a remote community in Papua New Guinea. As we looked at the numbers we saw that on average, one roll of our toilet paper gave one person access to a toilet for a week. We're aiming to provide toilets to over 1 million people each year within 3 years, and will monitor the impact of each toilet on the recipients at 3 and 5 year points so we can determine how many people we lift out of poverty.

There are several avenues to scale this impact:
1 - Move from online to supermarkets (we're in discussion now)
2 - Channel from consumer market to the business market (we already have college, office and hotels clients)
3 - Product expansion into other recurring purchase goods
4 - Geographic expansion into new markets (deep US and EU penetration)

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We plan to scale our operations geographically, by product offering and by distribution channel. We already have a presence in the Australian market and are conducting extensive market research in various European markets to assess the viability of expansion there. We have several new products in the developmental stage that we hope to have on offer next year. Finally, over the next two years we expect to grow significantly in new segments of the Australian market. We are in negotiations with a major supermarket chain to sell our toilet paper on supermarket shelves. From February next year, we will also have a dedicated member of staff for B2B customers to grow sales to businesses including cleaning companies, hotels and offices.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

Our business is already cash flow positive, despite having only been operational for a matter of months. We aim to grow organically and reinvest the profits of the business that aren't distributed to WaterAid. By operating a very lean, low cost model we hope to maximise the profitability and growth potential. To meet new growth opportunities we have managed to secure a loan facility but are currently seeking more financing options.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

The Who Gives A Crap team have been behind:
- Shebeen - A non-profit bar in Melbourne Australia that donate profits form each drink to sustainable development projects in that drinks country of origin (http://www.shebeen.com.au/)
- Ripple.org - A non-profit "click to give" website.

We're trained engineers, economists, lawyers and designers between us have worked for BCG, Google, IDEO, Method and Morgan Stanley.