Today, nearly one billion people lack access to clean and safe drinking water.
Last year, one billion people traveled the world.
What if we could leverage the power of one industry to help to solve one of the world’s most pressing issues? Enter WHOLE WORLD Water. A simple idea designed to leverage the collective power of the hospitality and tourism industry to help the nearly one billion people without clean and safe water and the 2.4 billion without basic sanitation.
In 2011, Karena Albers, co-founder of WHOLE WORLD Water and award-winning documentary filmmaker, attended the SLOW LIFE Symposium hosted by Sonu Shivdasani in the Maldives. This symposium was focused on creating and supporting innovative solutions in sustainability for the hospitality and tourism industry. In 2008, Sonu banned all plastic bottles at Soneva resorts, and started filtering, bottling and selling his own water to guests, giving 50 percent of the proceeds to clean water initiatives. As a result, he was able to provide clean and safe water to over 650,000 people. But he also saw something else – his bottom line grew and his plastic waste decreased dramatically.
This was a simple idea waiting to be scaled. Karena recognized it, Sonu recognized it, and Richard Branson recognized it. With their encouragement she took the idea, we met and developed a model and marketing platform that could be scaled for the industry.
The hospitality and travel industry contributes more than $6 trillion to the global economy. It makes up nine percent of global GDP, and supports 260 million jobs worldwide. Many hotels, resorts, restaurants and spas are located in areas with minimal access to safe and clean water. The social impact that can be achieved is significant. But what about the economics of such a proposition for the hotels, restaurants and resorts themselves?
Read more: How WHOLE WORLD Water benefits business.