LifeStraw yesterday released its first responsibility report highlighting 13 years of global safe drinking water efforts. Specifically, it outlines new commitments to its retail give back programs, sustainability efforts, support of public lands and programs empowering its employees.
The report discusses the brand’s initiative to improve access to safe drinking water for communities in need, consumers and victims of natural disasters through responsible product design, supply chain best practices and product innovation. The 2018 Responsibility Report describes: LifeStraw’s continuing work in Kenya through the retail give back program that is providing over a million children with safe drinking water; its Safe Water Fund reaching more than 37,000 natural disaster victims; and its commitment to protecting consumers from harmful microplastics and other water contaminants. LifeStraw is now supporting more than one million kids in 1,621 schools where 10,677 purifiers are installed, and more than 10,000 follow-up visits have taken place and continue monthly.
“This responsibility report summarizes important milestones, but more importantly, illustrates the fact that there is still a great deal of work to do,” said Alison Hill, managing director of LifeStraw. “We are committed to continuing our work, removing the obstacles to accessing clean water globally and reducing our environmental impact in the process. For 2018 and beyond, we will use less plastic in our own product packaging and continue working with our brand partners to reduce disposable plastic water bottles in the environment.”
This past March, LifeStraw surpassed its goal of providing safe water to one million school children thanks to engaged consumers. The program receives its funding from consumer purchases, making it entirely self-sustaining. For every LifeStraw product purchased, a school child in need receives safe drinking water for an entire school year.
“The key difference in this program is that LifeStraw Community water purifiers are not simply delivered,” continued Hill. “Instead, the company distributes its products and invests in full-scale programs to drive long-term impact. The program includes full-time local staff, training, education programs and maintenance for a minimum of five years at each school.”
LifeStraw is working with its partners to reduce the amount of disposable plastic throughout its supply chain. This year, LifeStraw is executing a full manufacturing assessment to identify product parts capable of being made from recycled or upcycled plastic bottles and ocean plastics and hopes to incorporate these changes before the end of 2018. At the same time, LifeStraw’s independent lab testing found that LifeStraw products filter 99.999% of tiny fragments of plastics found in fresh and salt water known as microplastics while removing harmful bacteria and metals. Two recent studies conducted by Orb Media reported that 93% of bottled water and 83% of tap water is contaminated with microplastics.
LifeStraw believes in environmental sustainability through product design and development and maintaining a transparent, responsible supply chain. All of the material in LifeStraw product packaging is recyclable and this year, it will reduce the size of each package to minimize waste. LifeStraw’s tier one suppliers must sign a code of conduct ensuring LifeStraw’s expectations for environmentally responsible manufacturing and sourcing are met. This year, they are also expanding the reach of the code of conduct to include tier two suppliers. Additionally, LifeStraw’s Responsibility Report added that the company is working toward the possible use of ocean and organic plastics for several product components being implemented in 2019.