Partnerships Partnering for Social Innovation in Perfumery

Poor sanitation, lack of hand washing with soap and limited access to safe drinking water are the main causes of nearly 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal diseases and 760,000 deaths of children under five years old ever y year. Public and private organizations are educating people in developing countries to improve access to sanitation. Since 2012, Firmenich has worked to better understand malodors to design innovative and affordable fragrance technologies and improve sanitation and hygiene conditions in developing countries.

The Toilet Board Coalition

The Toilet Board Coalition (TBC) is a global, business-led coalition of leading companies, government agencies, sanitation experts and nonprofit organizations striving to develop sustainable and scalable solutions to the sanitation crisis. The TBC aims to increase world demand for, and delivery of, innovative toilet solutions.

While governments and NGOs play major roles in this fight, the TBC can engage and leverage additional business resources, assets and expertise to provide access to sanitation to all. It ensures close collaboration between private, public and non-profit organizations to bring together the best technologies, expertise, financial resources and networks to build market-based sanitation initiatives that can be implemented sustainably on a larger scale.

The TBC wants to prove that market-based sanitation can work without sustained grant support, at least for most families in developing countries. The TBC will:
• Launch new sanitation initiatives
• Launch new ideas within existing large-scale sanitation programs, turning their grant-based model into sustainable businesses by co-creating new revenue models and removing barriers to implementation, e.g. by developing a comprehensive latrine and shelter solution for rural sanitation programs

The TBC will launch or support three to four sanitation businesses in urban and rural areas to deliver credible business and impact results by 2016.

In June 2014, TBC’s founding members invited Firmenich to join the organization because of our leadership in malodor control and expertise in multi-stakeholder partnerships. We are now an active TBC member and sponsor, and sit on the Steering and Innovation committees.

In FY16, Firmenich attended the Sankalp Global Summit, where the Toilet Accelerator in Action was showcased for the first time. The Toilet Accelerator selects five businesses with the potential to be catalytic in creating a robust business sector of sanitation solutions to deliver universal access by 2030. Firmenich and other TBC member companies provide support, technological innovation, malodor solutions, business strategy and sales and marketing guidance.

The five businesses selected in 2016 were:

Clean Team in Ghana, a social enterprise started in 2012. Clean Team delivers toilets to households and customers pay only for toilet unit rental and waste collection. The Clean Team is looking to innovate ways to reuse waste in the future.
Laguna Water in the Philippines, a piped-water service provider created through a joint venture between a private utility and provincial government. In 2014, Laguna Water started exploring how to replicate portable toilet services in its concession areas to reach last mile consumers.
Svadha in India, a social business founded in 2013 that identifies, trains and supports local entrepreneurs who manufacture, commercialize, install and service latrine components. Svadha developed an innovative network of village-based “sanitation entrepreneurs” integrated with local and multinational suppliers/partners to build and enhance sanitation solutions.
LIXIL Household Portable Toilet, a business that focuses on improving the current generation of portable toilet solutions and exploring innovative technologies for small-scale waste treatment plants.
RFL/iDE in Bangladesh, a partnership to develop higher-quality prefabricated toilets, toilet shelters and waste treatment (biodigesters) to build upon Bangladesh’s 100% sanitation coverage and mitigate risks of backsliding to open defecation due to poor quality, unappealing toilets.

Firmenich’s sustainability and innovation, in collaboration with other TBC companies, are mentoring the entrepreneurs going through the accelerator. We are focusing on identifying olfactive solutions for each project and replicating our award-winning Base of the Pyramid (BoP) consumer insights methodology to help Svadha better understand consumers’ preferences.
© Rafal Cichawa
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