The shift to a Sanitation Economy provides economic development alternatives to solve the global sanitation crisis, improving the lives of the world’s poorest, and enabling new business opportunities in the form of access to important biological resources and information about human health and behaviour. These assets, abundant in the sanitation system, have been virtually untapped.
These were the main conclusions of a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Toilet Board Coalition and LIXIL Corporation, a gathering of CEOs and societal leaders to discuss an Action Agenda for the Sanitation Economy in Davos.
“Are we making a positive impact to those with the lowest incomes in society? Is leadership doing something to improve it? Together with the TBC, we have created a leadership group, collaborating to make positive strides forward to tackle the sanitation crisis. We’re calling for more partners to help drive the agenda and take the Sanitation Economy to scale,” said Kinya Seto, President and CEO, LIXIL Group Corporation, a founding member of the Toilet Board Coalition, in his opening keynote address.
The Toilet Board Coalition introduced the opportunity of the Sanitation Economy, a future marketplace of untapped business potential helping to tackle the global sanitation crisis, and has assembled growing evidence of significant new benefits for business and society across sectors - an estimated $62 billion opportunity by 2021 in India alone.
Prabhat Pani, Head of Partnerships and Technology, TATA Trusts, and Toilet Board Coalition Steering Committee member, said “The multi-billion dollar business opportunity of the Sanitation Economy quantified in the study commissioned by the Toilet Board Coalition, while already significant and in the billions, we believe is actually quite conservative compared to the business opportunities that the economy could yield at scale in India.“
The Sanitation Economy leverages innovative toilet design, recovery of biological resources within the Circular Economy, and smart digital technologies driving preventative healthcare, to accelerate scale up of sanitation for all, as well as provide multiple business opportunities.
“In the TBC, Unilever has partnered with like-minded organisations to scale up market based approaches to sanitation. As business leaders we need to galvanise others to get involved, and embed this work within national frameworks with programmes and policies to work together on this opportunity,” said Rebecca Marmot, Global Vice President Advocacy and Partnerships, Unilever, a founding member of the Toilet Board Coalition.
The Sanitation Economy not only provides sanitation, enables education, and facilitates better workplaces for women, but it creates a biological waste system and a new source of information about human health and behaviour. A consistent flow of resources that can be transformed into energy, animal feed, organic fertilisers that capture nutrients, data, and information.
“The Sanitation Economy is happening now, it's a key business opportunity of our decade! Our world's global prosperity is not sustainable without social inclusion. To keep on thriving, we have to create systems that leave no-one behind. I believe the Sanitation Economy is one of the greatest levers to make that happen” said Nollaig Forrest, Vice President Corporate Communications, Firmenich, a founding member of the Toilet Board Coalition.
To close the session, Cheryl Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the Toilet Board Coalition, said “Our vision of the Sanitation Economy aims to change the game through business leadership, by connecting sanitation more broadly across the economy, and business sectors. When we succeed in as a society in ensuring universal access to sanitation, it should be a smart, self-sustaining, regenerative and revenue generating system of abundant resources and information. The Sanitation Economy won’t emerge on its own, it requires collaborative leadership from business and society. This opportunity is now. Join us!”