do one good thing

Monday 11 June 2012, by Alex

6 inspired

A. What are the main facts about the company’s activities?

It all started back in 2003 in London, when a group of friends decided to try make a difference in the one billion people’s lives without safe access to drinking water. They decided to create a mission-controlled company, that would sell bottled water, devoting all it’s profits to projects improving community access to drinking water in developing countries. One was born. Two years later, the first bottle of One Water was sold in store. Since then, the company has expanded it’s production and products are now sold in the UK, the USA, and Australia. Over the years, one has provided 7.8 Million USD for projects, improving the lives of over one million people in developing countries.

B. What are the Ethical challenges this company is addressing?

What distinguishes one from other for-profit companies, is the fact that their organization is mission-controlled. Private investment in the company will not yield private returns to the investors, but instead provide a constant flow of capital for the one foundation’s projects. In contrast to regular profit driven companies that rely on their Corporate Social Responsibility projects to add an ethical touch to their business operations, the social and ethical considerations of one, constitute the very core of the organization.

With the profits from it’s products, One tackles concrete development challenges, that relate to the sold products. For example: (1) Profits from One Water go towards funding clean water projects. (2) Profits from One Vitamin Enhanced Water go towards planting vegetable gardens and fruit trees in Africa to provide communities with enough vitamins. (3) Profits from One Careplast plasters go towards ambulance bikes and medical kits, to increase the access to healthcare of communities living in remote areas. (4) Profits from One Eggs go towards chicken farm projects, providing people with a sustainable source of food and income. (5) Profits from One toilet tissue and One Handwash go towards provision of sanitation supplies and hygienic toilets to stop the spread of waterborne diseases like diarrhea. (6) Profits from One Condoms go towards HIV projects.

C. What makes this company really inspiring to you and why would you trust it?

Three elements of the company appeal to us as inspiring.

First, the very fact that it is a mission controlled company, not interested in maximizing profits solely for its shareholders, but rather increasing profits to have more money at their disposal for their humanitarian projects in developing countries.

Second, the prizes the company has won in the past, including Social Entrepreneurship Awards, Fellowships, and an honorary doctorate for its founder, provide reasonable evidence for us to believe in the soundness of the concept. The possibility to look through all the implemented projects online, adds additional credibility.

Third and most importantly is the company’s founding story. It’s a story about a few friends, who had learned about the fact that one billion people worldwide have no access to drinking water. But they did not allow themselves to be discouraged by the daunting size of this humanitarian problem. They did not justify their inaction by shifting the responsibility to governments and international organizations. But rather they asked what they could contribute to the solving the problem. Up to today, one has provided 7.8 Million USD for projects, improving the lives of over one million people in developing countries.
They have clearly made a difference.

D. What are the possible challenges facing the company in the future?

To carry the venture into the future, management has to think about two main challenges. First, they have to ensure that their projects do not create dependencies of the communities involved, but rather continue to enable them to create their own livelihoods. In this case, they are not vulnerable to a possible decrease in company profits, resulting from shocks in consumer demand for the company’s products. Second, as the company continues to grow, it will more then ever need to balance long-term and short-term considerations. In the short-term, higher profits, will mean more instant relieve for communities in developing countries. In the long run however, it might be better to foster higher growth by reinvesting revenues, enabling the company to provide a higher amount of project money in the future, but at the same time compromise on current development projects.

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1 Discussion / 1 Message

  • do one good thing 4 October 2012 at 05:23 , by xufangfang

    ID: 1111209287
    This is the first time I know “ one water”. I am deeply inspired after I study what kind of this organization is. I have great sympathy with “one” and admire the founders. Why I choose “one”?

    1. I want to tell a matter occurred in my life. Dozens of children in the Kangqiao area of Shanghai’s Pudong district have tested positive for excessive levels of lead in their blood. The cause of this incident is the lead-acid battery American company Johnson Controls in Kangqiao area, which is regarded by industry insiders as a “model of health and safety”. I live near Kangqiao area and I am a new mother of a ten-month boy. I feel fea]]]r and angry that the pollution is so close to me. There are so many water pollution and air pollution around us. The only purpose of a mother is that child grows up healthily. But how can I give my baby safe food, safe water, and even safe air? So I strongly support “ one” who sell bottled water, devoting all it’s profits to projects improving community access to drinking water in developing countries. Even in shanghai, such a developed city, we are suffering water pollution. How can I image the children living in some developing countries?!

    2. This is rare in china that such kind of mission-controlled company. Nowadays, with the so fast development of Chinese economy, huge mount of people rush into business. They never think of any social responsibility or ethics. The only purpose is to make money. So we are suffering the bad consequences of such quick buck development. Urgently, such kind of company or organization is needed for Chinese to improve our environment. These projects will benefit generations. Only the efforts we do can draw Business Company’s attention to social responsibility. The “ one” is the good sample.

    3. Just like Nike’s slogan “ just do it”, the “one” started in a pub with a simple idea that they would create a brand of bottled water with a difference – they would give all the profit away. So a lot of friends worked together since the simple consensus. Generally, we think a lot of things before we start anything, we are afraid of failure and difficulty. We may give up our idea after such thinking. But you know, “ one” is not a for-profit company. They must meet more difficulties than usual, but they insist doing.

    In a word, Business Company should pay more attention to social responsibility and ethics. We must make efforts together to give our children a pure life.

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