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Toilet humour business saves lives

When three entrepreneurs learned 2.5 billion people didn’t have access to a toilet, they recognised an opportunity to do good while creating a profitable business.

Combining their love for toilet humour with the recognition that toilet paper is a commodity everyone needs, Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander and Jehan Ratnatunga launched Who Gives A Crap in 2012 with a crowd funding campaign that went viral. Simon committed to sitting on the throne in a draughty warehouse until they raised the $50,000 needed to create their first bulk run of toilet paper. After 50 hours taking a (toilet) seat for his cause, Simon and his team went beyond their goal amount and have been stocking bathrooms around Australia, and now globally, since March 2013.

Who Gives A Crap donates 50 percent of its profits to Water Aid and Sanergy, which has so far helped these charities reduce numbers of those without access to toilets to 2.4 billion. Providing toilet access goes far beyond providing a pleasant, sit down experience for taking care of business, it means waste is disposed of in a sanitary manner rather than entering waterways that are used for cooking and cleaning.

“Every single roll we’d sold was providing someone with access to toilet for a week, which is a pretty awesome outcome, especially when all we’re asking our customers to do is sit down for something that they believe in,” Simon said during his TEDx Brisbane talk. “When I look back I think about what we’ve learned from this experience, the first thing is that consumers really want products that do good… we’ve seen sustainability come to the forefront of consumer products now we’re starting to see consumer driven philanthropy coming to centre stage, everything from wine to watches can be purchased while creating social impact. It’s actually getting quite difficult to enter a commodity market without a product that has social impact imbedded in the transaction, which is pretty cool and we’re only going to see more of this.”

Being a 100 percent recycled product, the sustainability aspect is part of the Who Gives A Crap cause too. What can you do today to make a difference? It could be as simple as answering nature’s call. As the Who Gives A Crap project gathers momentum on it’s path to ensure everyone has access to a toilet by 2050, consider ‘the power of and’ in your everyday choices.

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