In 2012, when Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander and Jehan Ratnatunga learned that 40% of the world (roughly 2.5 billion people) don’t have access to a toilet – they set out on a mission to solve this global problem.
Their solution? A toilet paper business with an unforgettable name: Who Gives A Crap.
It’s not just about the toilet paper though. It’s the positive economic impact of implementing toilet infrastructure and sanitation that Who Gives A Crap really cares about.
A 2012 study conducted by the World Health Organisation calculated that for every $1 invested in sanitation, there was an economic return of $5.50 in lower health costs, more productivity and fewer premature deaths. So although this profit for purpose enterprise sells toilet paper to the developed world, it donates 50 percent of its profits to charity partners such as WaterAid and Sanergy, non-profit organisations that help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
Who Gives A Crap launched in July 2012 with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Co-founder Simon – an engineer and economist turned social entrepreneur – sat on a toilet in a warehouse and refused to get off the toilet seat until the business had raised enough preorders to start production. His determination and patience paid off.
Just 50 hours later, the team had raised over $50,000. Their first product delivery was in March 2013. Who Gives a Crap have been wiping away at the poverty problem ever since.
Who Gives A Crap really does give a crap.
More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet. It’s a shocking statistic, but it’s the truth. With one in three people not having access to a toilet, the impacts of poor sanitation can lead to illnesses that prevent people from going to school or work. But what’s worse is that almost 900 children under the age of five die everyday due to lack of toilet infrastructure and diseases associated with poor sanitation.
Who Gives A Crap tackles heavy subject matter indeed. Rather than burden consumers with these problems though, they keep the marketing light and fun. In his 2013 Tedx talk in Brisbane, co-founder Simon Griffiths humorously admits “we wanted to be the Ben and Jerry’s or the Movember of the toilet paper space.” Good thinking. Making people feel bad or feel guilty is not a great way to influence them. Bringing humour to a serious subject – toilet humour – is a more powerful method of persuasion.
The brand doesn’t stop with helping people though. It’s toilet paper is helping the planet too, because,
- there are no inks, dyes, chlorine or fragrances in the product,
- the product is made from recycled paper, and
- no forests were grown or cut down to make the product.
By producing toilet paper in this way, the brand has saved 47,968 trees from being cut down, conserved 101,170,933 litres of water (that’s the equivalent of more than 40 Olympic sized swimming pools) and prevented 8,060 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
The products are sold almost entirely online and the business also offers a convenient subscription service so that customers don’t run out of toilet paper. The business currently ships directly to customers in 39 countries around the world and in most cases, you get free shipping (orders over $30!) and door step delivery.
My only gripe with the product.
Forest-free recycled paper that contain no inks, dyes, chlorine or scents gets a huge thumbs up, but seriously, what is up with the excessive packaging around individual toilet paper rolls? This gets two thumbs down. It’s more ‘eco’ if there’s minimal packaging so I’d love to see an option on their site offering a box with package-free toilet paper.
Plus the cost of packaging often increases the overall price of the product. Reduce costs of packaging and you reduce the overall price so it’s cheaper for the end consumer… am I right?
Do you give a crap?
Who Gives A Crap has set a huge goal: to ensure that all people have access to a toilet by 2050. They’ll use their profits to try and make this happen, but they need your support because the more paper they sell, the more they can donate and the more people they can help.
If you’re keen to help them achieve their mission, make the switch and buy their ‘eco-friendly’ toilet paper. As extra incentive, the good folks at Who Gives A Crap have also given us a discount code so you receive $10 off your first order. Just use the code ECOWARRIORPRINCESS at checkout to claim the discounted price. Click here to shop their sustainably-produced toilet paper.
Disclosure: While EWP doesn’t get paid any affiliate commissions for promoting Who Gives A Crap, we were happy with the box of toilet paper we received as a gift, and the good karma their team promised to send our way!