Recently, packH2O was featured as a case study of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission:
Doing well by doing good is a phrase often heard. Putting that idea in practice is the challenge. How can a for-profit company provide humanitarian impact while, at the same time, ensure those good intentions are sustainable and part of a company’s strategic vision? Greif Flexible Products & Services (FPS), a global player in the flexible packaging space with 12% market share, understands this challenge and was determined to prove that good business and humanitarian impact could not only co-exist, they could, together, provide an outcome that was sustainable on all fronts.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Greif FPS team committed to “giving back” and making an impact on the global humanitarian stage. Within 24 months of their commitment came the introduction of the packH2O® water backpack-a wearable solution that improved the process of personal water storage and transportation.1
The packH2O water backpack is an innovative solution developed by Greif FPS, a global joint venture between Al-Dabbagh Group and Greif Inc. The two companies are committed to ensuring this life saving solution has the greatest positive impact on as many lives as possible.
Great ideas are often unsuccessful without a catalyst; something or someone to drive the idea and implement it to ensure the measurable outcomes are aligned with the original vision. Enter Partners for Care: Partners for Care (PFC),2 a Kenya based NGO who has worked extensively in public health in Kenyan communities across the country, recognized from the moment they were introduced to the pack that the impact would be a game changer.
Immediate and positive results were recognized by the joint Greif FPS-PFC team and more importantly, the recipients of these packs, as safe water education became an integral part of the packH2O socialization process. But, as Greif FPS and PFC determined, something was missing to ensure impact and long-term sustainability.3
Working together, Greif FPS and PFC recognized the need to build a business model in which Greif FPS would continue to manufacture packs for those in Kenya while, at the same time, develop a roadmap in which the packH2O water backpack could be made in-country under the guidance of the PFC Team. This model allows for a transition of manufacturing responsibility from Greif FPS to one in which a Kenyan national labor force could, over time, assume that responsibility.4
In 2017, PFC is looking to source material locally and set up a fully functional sewing and assembly facility with a goal of producing 15K packs and employing 4 Kenyans to assist with production. Packs made equals packs sold as news spreads about the importance of these packs and the impact they are having continues to grow. In essence, PFC is in the midst of creating a value cycle that ensures a sustainable model of production and distribution that is leading to safe water education and improved health for the many in Kenya who live with water insecurity. What makes this so exciting is that the R&D and time the Greif FPS team has spent to go from original idea to changing lives in Kenya in 2017 with the PFC Team has had immeasurable value.
Just over a year ago, PFC started selling packs and not just giving them away as humanitarian gifts. This meant commerce and the money that PFC was selling the packs to users for was, in turn, being reinvested into getting more packs into the hands of a Sales Team who could help build demand around the brand in the Kenyan communities.5
Supporting the needs of Kenya one pack at a time is an audacious goal. It is one that both PFC and Greif FPS believe in and one that they are going to follow through on, knowing that the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 are just around the corner.