In 1995, Procter & Gamble (P&G) scientists began researching methods of water treatment for use in communities facing water crises. P&G, one of the world’s largest consumer products companies, was interested in bringing industrial-quality water treatment to remote areas worldwide, because the lack of clean water, primarily in developing countries, was alarming. In the latter half of the 1990s, approximately 1.1 billion (out of a worldwide population of around 5.6 billion) people lacked access to clean drinking water or sanitation facilities. An estimated 6 million children died annually from diseases, including diarrhea, hookworm, and trachoma, brought about by contaminated water. Many of these deaths were preventable if a water sanitation product was paired with effective education and distribution. With a long history of scientific research and innovation in health, hygiene, and nutrition, P&G considered ways it could address the safe drinking-water crisis as the new millennium approached. Although the company had a vast array of successful products, P&G did not offer anything that involved water purification, either domestically or in developing countries where poverty, lack of infrastructure, and inaccessibility of remote communities made the prospect of cleaning up the water more difficult.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia