A meeting of leaders of some of the world’s major bottled water brands and retailers was held in Washington D.C. today, with experts and officials, to discuss a new Global Investment Fund for Water (GIFFW) to fight water poverty across the developing world. The Co-op UK will be a pioneer partner in this initiative and the only UK retailer at the event.
The Co-op already donates money from the sales of its own label bottled water, but will extend its commitment to donate a penny (or cent) per litre from all branded water it sells across its 2,600 stores in the UK to contribute to the initiative.
The Global Investment Fund for Water is a partnership with the bottled water sector to end water poverty. The first meeting of pioneer partners is being chaired by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is a global advocate for water and sanitation.
Global bottled water consumption is projected to grow to over 520 billion litres per year by 2020, with a value of over $200 billion. By capturing a tiny fraction of those revenues, GIFFW plans to generate substantial revenues for catalytic investment in sustainable water and sanitation services for the world’s poorest people.
According to the UN, in 2015, 663 million people did not have access to improved drinking water and more than 2.4 billion lacked access to a basic, hygienic toilet.
Kevin Rudd said: “We’re delighted to see the Co-op take an early lead on the Global Investment Fund for Water initiative and set an example to other retailers and bottlers that this is a great, simple, concept which will fundamentally change people’s lives.”
Steve Murrells, Group Chief Executive, Co-op, said: “For over ten years, the Co-op has championed the need to invest in water sanitation and hygiene projects in countries such as Kenya and Malawi.
“The Global Investment Fund for Water is an exciting new initiative which has the potential to transform communities on a much larger scale than we have been able to achieve before, enabling millions of people to live much healthier lives.”
He added: “Every still, sparkling or flavoured Co-op bottle of water helps charitable projects in Africa and we are the only supermarket with an own brand charity water but through this fund we will go even further.”
The Global Investment Fund for Water aims to accelerate investments to help achieve the UN’s Global Goals, focusing on Goal 6 on delivering clean water and sanitation by 2030. By potentially aligning with existing recycling programmes, the GIFFW initiative will also encourage responsible consumption and production of bottled water worldwide.
GIFFW founder Duncan Goose said: “It is enormously exciting to see this initiative coming together. We want to raise $100 million to launch the fund, and believe this is absolutely achievable in the coming year. Companies across the retail and bottled water industry already demonstrate their commitment to sustainability through numerous initiatives addressing water stewardship and water poverty. GIFFW will take this work to a much larger scale and make a positive difference to the lives of hundreds of millions of people.”
A feasibility study is underway for an innovative plan...
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