Updated Feb 11, 2021

Water Unite

waterunite.org

Louis Goring-morris

Water Unite catalyses new funding via a one-cent micro-levy from water retailers to support global water, sanitation and waste management programming.

The beauty of our innovation is in its "micro" nature, which makes it simple to adopt. One cent on a $1 bottle of water does not pose a hardship for either consumers or retailers. The retailer may take the margin hit, pass it to the consumer, or the supplier, or share it between all parties. Our model has been successfully tested and adopted by two very large UK-based retailers. Now it's all a...
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The beauty of our innovation is in its "micro" nature, which makes it simple to adopt. One cent on a $1 bottle of water does not pose a hardship for either consumers or retailers. The retailer may take the margin hit, pass it to the consumer, or the supplier, or share it between all parties. Our model has been successfully tested and adopted by two very large UK-based retailers. Now it's all about scaling and replicating that adoption globally! Given the micro-levy is structured per litre, rather than per bottle, it offers opportunity for participation beyond just single-use bottles, including greener options like refillable glass bottles and water cooler jugs, or even filtered tap water. And as Water Unite scales, we are working to add value to our support of implementing partners beyond just cash grants, through technical, monitoring and evaluation support; more diverse funding options such as impact investing; and thought leadership in global conversations on measurement, impact, and best practices.
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Water Unite first piloted our approach with The Cooperative Group. By 2019, we'd successfully proven our concept works and signed a second partner, Elior Group. As we transition to scale we're aiming for 20 retail partners by 2024.
Registered in United Kingdomin United Kingdom

Focus Areas:

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Waste Management, Watersheds and 4 MoreSEE ALL

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Waste Management, Watersheds, Environment, Agriculture Water Management, Public-Private Partnerships and Monitoring & EvaluationSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Pakistan, Uganda, Jordan and 4 MoreSEE ALL

Pakistan, Uganda, Jordan, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya and IndiaSEE LESS

9
Key Partners
7
Countries Implemented In
5
Employees
$2,000,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

785 million globally live without access to clean water, 2.3 billion live without proper sanitation, and less than 10% of plastic produced yearly is recycled. Funding is lean: there's currently a $85.6 billion gap for the water sector alone, and existing funds leave a “missing middle” between philanthropy for urgent needs and conventional lending for high-capacity/low-risk ventures. Additionally, there are few opportunities for the bottled water sector to be a positive player in seeking change.

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Solution

Water Unite catalyses new private sector funding, inviting bottled water retailers in a collective effort to commit funding through a one cent microlevy per litre sold. With the global bottled water market approaching 500 billion litres/year, 100% participation would raise $5 billion/year to invest in water, sanitation, and plastic recycling. Our 2024 goal aims to capture just 3% of this market. We then distribute our revenue through operational partners working in the "missing middle" space.

Target Beneficiaries

We fund 5 projects reaching 1.1 million beneficiaries in communities that were previously part of the water and sanitation funding gap. We prioritize local partners and innovative solutions. Our approach provides an opportunity for the private sector to unite with governments and other stakeholders to provide sustainable water and sanitation services for the most marginalized communities alongside improved plastics recycling services in the locations where it's needed most.

Mission and Vision

Our vision is a world where everyone has access to clean, safe water and decent sanitation and lives free from waste pollution. We believe high quality water services are the foundation of healthy societies, and a circular economy approach to plastics is vital to health of our planet. Our mission is to use micro-contributions from global sales of bottled water to end water and sanitation poverty for hundreds of millions of people by 2030, whilst also substantially reducing plastic pollution.

Competitive Advantage

Both the concepts of micro-levies are and private sector investment (or corporate charitable dollars) in the water, sanitation and plastics spaces are not new. However, there has not been a successful effort to date to create a large-scale, collective movement with the convening power to pool these efforts to reach critical mass. Bottlers (like Danone, Coca-Cola, Nestle, and PepsiCo) and retailers (like Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Woolworths, and Tesco) all allocate resources toward corporate social responsibility efforts in water, sanitation and plastics - but each is operating independently and without the benefit of a larger, coordinated mission. Leveraging our network in the water retail industry, nonprofit WASH and recycling sectors, government, and convening bodies like the UN Environment Programme, Water Unite is uniquely positioned to bring together a diverse set of actors towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 6, 12, and 14.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Water Unite has already secured two retailers who have adopted the levy and committed $10 million, giving Water Unite's model proof of concept. We are now looking to scale our operations to twenty retail partners by 2024. We're increasing our political engagement to ask governments (CHOGM and the UNGA SDG+5 session in 2020) to convene all retailers in their countries to adopt. We're also building our support for implementing partners, such as technical and financial management assistance.
Funding Goal6,500,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted1,181,062
Recruit20 global grocery retailers

The Team Behind the Innovation

Lord Malcolm Bruce - Chair | Chaired the International Development Committee for a decade, Usha Rao-Monari - Vice Chair | Blackstone Infrastructure & Established IFC’s global water portfolio of close to $4 billion, Dr. Alessandra Buonfino - Executive | Head of International Development at Mischon De Reya, Chris Sellers - CEO | Formerly CEO of IRI Data & Agentrics, a coalition of 50 of the world’s largest retailers, and Duncan Goose - Founder | Created The One Brand which donated $25m+ to fund WASH.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Oct 2019
Key Partnership
ORGANIZATIONElior
Dec 2015
Key Partnership
ORGANIZATIONThe Vitol Foundation
Dec 2015
Key Partnership
ORGANIZATIONThe Stone Family Foundation

Supporting Materials

Water-Unite-Brochure-orientation-null.pdf
Water-Unite-Partnership-orientation-null.pdf