Providing the water of life

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

In a world so often gone wrong, it’s nice to report on something gone right. Very right, in fact, if you’ll excuse my liberties with the English language.

This week World Duty Free Group announced it had raised over £1,000,000 (US$1.6 million) for the One Foundation from sales of bottled ‘One Water’ and branded jute bags in its UK airport stores since the start of its partnership with the Foundation five years ago.

That’s a lot of water – more than 3 million bottles – and a lot of jute, some 491,950 bags. The sum raised has assisted an incredible 85 water projects in four countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

[Left to right: Ashok Kumar, Replenishment Assistant in World Duty Free’s Heathrow T5 store who stocks shelves with almost 300 bottles of One Water daily; Mark Sowerby, Head of Retail Operations, World Duty Free Group; Miranda Colquhoun, Confectionery/Food Specialist in WDF’s T5 stores who serves customers with hundreds of bottles of One Water each day; Duncan Goose, Founder, The One Foundation, receives a £1 million cheque from World Duty Free Group]

One Foundation, Founder Duncan Goose said the organization was “overwhelmed” by World Duty Free Group’s efforts.  A proud World Duty Free Group UK Head of Retail Operations Mark Sowerby added: “We are committed to supporting the One Foundation and the vital work they do and our staff are all extremely passionate about the brand and the projects the funding supports.”

I write a lot on this Blog about travel retail’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

That’s for two reasons. One: I believe they deserve wider publicity, not just about the benefactor but also the recipient charities. Two: It makes me proud to be part of an industry that is often dismissed by outsiders as a superficial business selling goods that people don’t really need. I’ve never had much time anyway for such naysayers and often as not they’re not exactly overflowing with generosity in terms of their own social consciences.

I could never say that about travel retail – a community that in recent years has put its individual and collective corporate heart and soul into funding some great causes.

One Foundation is among the best of them. Funds are raised to install PlayPumps (pictured below), a specially crafted children’s roundabout that pumps water from deep underground. As children spin on the roundabout, fresh, clean water is pumped from a borehole into a storage tank for use by the community.

In the 21st century, unclean water is the second biggest killer of children. How can that be? Some 1.8 million children die each year as a result of unclean water. How do we as a global society tolerate that? There are still over 1 billion people who have no access to clean water and 2 million people die each year as a result of water-related diseases. How can that be right?

Tough and uncomfortable questions. But they must be answered. And World Duty Free Group, together with One Foundation, is doing just that.

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