Sustainable at heart

Our awesome partners over at Clean Water Wave are doing important work every day.

One of the main things we love about them is how they put sustainability at the heart of their work. It’s not just about providing clean water, it’s about providing long term solutions for clean water. Solutions that can last for a very long time, and can support whole communities far in to the future.

That’s an attitude we really admire – because, as it turns out, thinking about things from a sustainable and long-term mindset doesn’t just help them out. It helps to make the world a better place. And of course, we love that.

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But how does that work? How do they go about thinking sustainably? And how has it impacted them? All great questions – why don’t we let them tell you. And hey, maybe that will help you understand why we’re so obsessed with them…

So, Clean Water Wave. Neat name – remind us what you do exactly?

You know by now that we’re a social enterprise and we love clean water. You might also know that our water treatment system is called the Clean Aqua For Everyone (CAFÉ_, and that it’s designed to be robust and super sustainable. As you can see, it’s a pretty big piece of machinery, and it’s really created to last!

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Obviously that’s awesome. Why is sustainability a part of that for you?

For our small team, it’s really important that the impact we make isn’t just a one off. Clean water never stops being important, so we don’t want to make a piece of equipment that will work for a short time and then break. That can have a really negative impact on the communities in which we work. For us, that means it’s essential for us to think sustainably – think long term.

And how do you implement that sustainability?

Essentially, when building CWW and creating the CAFÉ systems, we had three key things to bear in mind.

  • We have to get the right design for the water treatment system. That means a machine that’s sturdy and won’t just break.
  • We have to build and source from the right materials. Strong materials, and sustainable materials.
  • We have to work in partnership with communities, and with organisations that take a long-term view to improving livelihoods.

We have a lot of experience working in low income communities and know that getting the technology right is just part of the equation. Yes, it’s important – vitally important – to design and manufacture something that works and is robust. But CWW is more than just the physical things we build. Everything we buy and use has an impact, and it’s important to us that we ensure that impact is a positive one. That means keeping a close eye on our suppliers. We want to ensure they understand our mission, and have good business practices such as not using child labour.

You mentioned partnering with communities too. Why is that important?

Relationships with communities are essentially to making a lasting positive impact, wherever we work. Just turning up and installing water systems might help in the short term, but they won’t really reach their full potential. Ensuring that our work is fully transparent means that community members are engaged and on board, so that they can manage their water systems in to the future.

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That’s why – rather than jump straight into implementing an international project – we are spending a lot of time researching best practice in international development, learning from those that do it well and from those who recognise they could do better.

It’s also why we are working with great partners, in the UK and internationally, to get the right fit, to ensure a long-term approach to clean water for communities.

Are there any other ways you’re approaching that community aspect?

We’re actually set up as a social enterprise, which is a little different from a normal business. It basically meant that profit from the sales of our water treatment systems is ploughed into doing our homework, and getting the right approach for community development. That’s opposed to just generating more and more profit for personal gain, like a typical company. We think that’s really important because it shows that we have faith in the system, and it also means we can grow and improve to create even more exciting and sustainable ways of making clean water!

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And finally, if you could sum up the idea of sustainable, clean water…

To make clean water in a way that improves health, livelihoods, and the environment for the long term.

Well, we hope you’ve fallen in love with CWW all over again. Remember to check out their website for more information or if you have any questions!

 

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