On the occasion of World Toilet Day, Geneva-based Toilet Board Coalition (TBC) hosted the Global Sanitation Economic Summit in Pune, from November 18th to November 21st. The summit was a platform for business leaders, investors and sanitation experts, who are at the forefront of the global sanitation economy, to deliberate upon ‘Sanitation Economy’ solutions for various industries, citizens and development agendas. Toilet Board Coalition – The India Chapter, which will go online in January 2020 was also launched at the summit. Introduced as a result of demand from local Indian companies, who would join a global coalition but wanted to have their own coalition in the country, the Chapter will be TBC’s first office outside of Switzerland.
The summit’s inauguration featured eminent keynote speakers including Secretary P. Iyer, Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Government of India; Cheryl Hicks, Executive Director and CEO, Toilet Board Coalition; and Rajendra Jagtap, CEO, Pune Smart City. Other important delegates included representatives from prominentinstitutions such as Tata Trusts, Unilever, Kalyani Group, LIXIL, Kimberly-Clark, Veolia, Firmenich and USAID as well as Indian Smart Cities.
During the panel discussions, leading sector experts touched upon various topics related to sanitation. These include: ‘India leading the way in business innovation & WASH’; How the Sanitation Economy approach becomes a part of mitigating water risk for companies and governments; How the Circular Economy, applied to sanitation, becomes a solution provider for agriculture and consumer goods industries’ and ‘Sanitation solutions for a resource constrained world’.
Speaking at the summit, Cheryl Hicks, CEO and Executive Director, Toilet Board Coalition, said, “We find India an inspiring place to be working for in sanitation. Things are moving fast, and the government is very supportive of new business models in this space. Toilet Board hopes to help identify new opportunities to drive value out of a system that has been mostly cost to support the businesses that are developing these new models, and also how to create this new narrative, this new story. For us sanitation is a delivery system for resources and information rather than just a place to capture waste and send it out into the sea or even worse, cause pollution in our cities and communities. So, you know, the toilet is really being transformed. In the words of Bill Gates, ‘we need to reinvent the toilet and we are seeing that today’.”
Speaking at the summit, Rajendra Jagtap, CEO, Pune Smart City, said, “New data on public and community toilet usage, wastewater and sewage quality and disease circulation can lead to significant savings in sanitation management and health costs in cities. Sanitation Economy revenue streams can be generated through new public toilet business service models, and the up-cycling of wastewater and sewage into energy, organic fertilisers and reusable water in cities.”