Collaboration Systems thinking

The Bottled Water Challenge – your opinions sought!

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Public opinion needed here, please help!

There’s a charity water company which raises £10k/yr from bottled water sales. This funds 3 clean water projects in India.

The person running this activity costs £10k/yr in salary. Externalised costs include extraction, bottling, labelling, transport, and refrigeration.

Costs: £10k + externalities
Yield: £10k + cascading benefits

So by now you might be thinking there’s probably a better way to do this. After all, shipping bottled water around a well-developed country to attend to an understandable but misguided desire to feel good by buying a redundant and resource-inefficient product probably isn’t the best way to help us transition to a better society.

Here’s the challenge to you:

If you can think of a better way to help fund clean water projects, they’ll shut down their activities, and tell the world why they’ve changed their approach.

(Which, it seems, would be a pretty potent and wonderful message since there are very few companies who are prepared to change everything they do to make the world better.)

Ideas in the comments, please.

Founder, strategist, writer, gadfly, TED talker, world-record holder, and (foolishly) reality-TV farmer.DOES: Innovation, Product, Advocacy THINKS: Regenerative Systems, Institution design, 300 year horizons


  1. Solution:

    Don’t but bottled water, ever. Use tap water instead, and, if you must, use it to fill a refillable water bottle.

    Give the money you would have spent on bottled water to water aid charities instead.

    Problem solved.

    Step two: apply the same logic to all your other purchaces.

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