MUMBAI, India – As we commemorate World Toilet Day 2016, the First Global Toilet Business, Innovation and Investment Summit comes to a successful close in Mumbai. With poor sanitation costing the global economy $222.9 billion, the summit brought together key players across the sanitation sector – from multinationals Unilever, Kimberly Clark Corporation, LIXIL and Firmenich, to over 75 entrepreneurial young businesses – to flush out the untapped business opportunities in toilets.
New research released by summit organisers the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC) shone a light on smart toilets and a circular economy approach to sanitation as largely untapped opportunities for entrepreneurs in the sanitation sector, or ‘sani-preneurs’. The digitisation of sanitation systems in developing markets was presented as a very real opportunity for the future, with the toilet viewed as a potential health data capturing device. Meanwhile, a number of sani-preneurs who are already introducing the infrastructure to turn human waste – or toilet resources – into a valuable commodity took centre stage on the first day.
Entrepreneurial companies Biocycle, SafiSana, Samagra, Sanergy and Sanivation were also announced as the next cohort of Toilet Accelerator businesses – the TBC’s flagship business mentoring scheme. All five businesses are all at the fore of sanitation innovation, from Samagra working at intersection of design, technology and behavioural science to tackle the issue of open defecation in India, to SafiSana, Sanergy, Biocycle and Sanivation’s circular approaches to collecting the by-products of sanitation from toilets into affordable and sustainable resources such as fuel, fertilisers and proteins.
Over the next year, the five businesses will receive mentoring, business intelligence and in-kind business support from the Toilet Board Coalition and its corporate members.
Speaking about the summit, Cheryl Hicks, Executive Director of the Toilet Board Coalition said: “We’re proud to be supporting the sanitation business ecosystem with very exciting new business models that are evolving beyond the physical toilet – into resource management, technology, behaviour change and more.” The incredible turnout at the First Global Toilet Business, Innovation & Investment Summit demonstrates that there are plenty of businesses who agree.
The summit was hosted by the Toilet Board Coalition; a business platform on a mission to help bring about Sustainable Development Goal 6 – universal access to sanitation – by accelerating business solutions to the problem and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The three-day event sought to demonstrate the untapped business value in sanitation, to encourage new entrepreneurs to enter the industry, and to generate business partnerships with the ultimate goal of bringing innovative new models to scale.
CII as the apex industry body in India which works towards inclusive development sees a natural ally in the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC). CII, like the TBC, strongly believes that development of business for sanitation is critical for achieving sanitation for all, especially for building on the Swachh Bharat movement. Shefali Chaturvedi, Senior Director, CII, in her welcome remarks said, “it is very encouraging to witnesses the innovations that are emerging, the passion with which the number of entrepreneurs who are trying to address this complex problem and at the same time are willing to collaborate for scale and impact. The participation in the Summit resonates the belief that businesses for sanitation is emerging and will be the game changer for addressing universal accesses to sanitation for all.”
The Toilet Board Coalition will also be honouring World Toilet Day by making a formal announcement of its members’ commitments at Global Citizen Festival India. The announcement will be made on the main stage on the evening of 19th November, and accompanied by a short film.
- BRAC is a member of the Toilet Board Coalition Partnership Council and members of the BRAC WASH Programme attended the event.
- The Digitisation of Sanitation and Sanitation in the Circular Economy can be downloaded from the Toilet Board Coalition website here.
- To find Cheryl’s Hicks’ interview with the Global Waters Radio podcast, announcing new 3-year partnership with USAID, please visit this link.
- BRAC recently attended the 1st Global Toilet Business, Innovation and Investment Summit
- BRAC is a member of the Toilet Board Coalition
- The summit investigated smart toilets, sanitation in the circular economy, and catalyses new partnerships.
- Biocycle, SafiSana, Samagra, Sanergy and Sanivation announced as the 2017 Toilet Accelerator cohort
- Toilet Board Coalition will make a public commitment at first ever Global Citizen Festival India