March 22nd was World Water Day, and for many in the developed world, it passed without much notice. But elsewhere, more than 4,000 children under the age of five die each day from diseases caused by drinking unsafe water. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water, and an estimated 2.2 million children die each year because of diarrheal diseases, many of which could be prevented with access to a safer water supply.
Access to clean water is at the core of the United Nation's Millennial Development Goals established in 2000. In 2005, the UN called for an international decade of water-related action, with then Secretary General Kofi Annan imploring, "We shall not finally defeat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of the other infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic healthcare."
As we know, big problems require big ideas to solve them. AMR Research recently spoke with executives from Procter & Gamble (P&G) to get an update on their efforts toward providing new blueprints on how lessons from business can be used to solve world problems.
Clip and save the world
A few weeks ago in Sunday papers across the nation, P&G provided a booklet of coupons under its brandSAVER program, with an offer to "Save Money, Improve Lives." For each coupon redeemed, P&G will supply a liter of filtered drinking water to a person in the developing world. The company's goal for this program is to donate 50 million liters of water during the months of March and April. We contacted Keith Zook, a Fellow in the company's Global Sustainability organization, to learn more.
The splash heard round the world
According to Mr. Zook, P&G launched the Children's Safe Drinking Water program in 2003, with a goal to reduce the sickness and death in children resulting from drinking contaminated water.
The most important tool the company has to achieve this goal is based on a discovery by two of its UK-based scientists who, in partnership with the Center for Disease Control, developed the PUR water purification system. Described as a "mini water treatment plant in a packet," it is a revolutionary product in the field of water purification, and it couldn't be easier to use. A demonstration on P&G's website shows a two-and-a-half-gallon bucket of dirty water transformed into clean drinking water in just 30 minutes. The treatment is so effective, it even removes arsenic from the water, a major problem in India and elsewhere.
For more information on this topic, or to read similar research, visit www.amrresearch.com.
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