In 1998, I was caught in Hurricane Mitch, a deadly Atlantic storm that ripped through Central America, killing more than 19,000 people and leaving millions homeless.
I was in Honduras at the start of a long and life-changing journey, during which I was also shot at, lived through an earthquake and relied a lot on the kindness of strangers.
What I learned from these experiences is that we are all part of one human family and that for many people living on this planet, my experiences were not so unusual. I also learned that if a member of our family is starving, or homeless, or has no access to clean water, most of us would try to do something about it.
That is why, when I returned to London, I created Global Ethics and founded One Water – a bottled water and drinks brand which donates its profits to water projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2006, One Water has raised over £14 million and provided water services to over 3 million people. 3 million sounds like a lot, but with more than 663 million people still lacking access to safe drinking water, I realised that ending water poverty was going to need a much more ambitious approach.
So I started to ask – what if we could raise one cent from every litre of bottled water sold worldwide? If retailers, wholesales, food service companies and bottlers got involved, we could raise hundreds of millions, maybe billions, to set up an investment fund. With that kind of catalytic finance, we really could start to fill the financing gap and ensure everyone has access to clean water and sanitation by 2030 – as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The idea was floated to a small gathering of business leaders at 10 Downing Street in May 2014. They didn’t run a mile, so, over the last couple of years, I’ve kept pushing it. To my pleasant surprise, the concept of a Global Investment Fund for Water is gaining traction with experts, bottlers, retailers, financial gurus, NGOs and governments.
On our website, you’ll find information about the concept and background to the GIFFW. We’ll also post regular updates on progress as we complete our feasibility study, generously supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.
Thank you for your interest in the concept of a Global Investment Fund for Water. It is very much a work in progress and comments, suggestions and willing partners are warmly welcomed. If you would like to find out more, or offer support or advice, we would love to hear from you.
A feasibility study is underway for an innovative plan...
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