Business Advice

How this real estate business that gives a crap is saving hundreds of lives

Dinushi Dias /

A corporate deal with a Melbourne social enterprise will save nearly 600 lives – and all it took was the purchase of toilet paper.

In a first of its kind deal between social enterprise Who Gives a Crap and global real estate agency JLL, the TAC building in the Victorian regional centre of Geelong – the region’s largest employer – is now being stocked with sustainable toilet paper.

Who Gives a Crap chief executive and co-founder Simon Griffiths says more than 2 billion people around the world don’t have access to adequate toilets, which is resulting in detrimental health problems that affect productivity and education.

JLL wanted to help Who Gives A Crap fulfil their toilet-building mission while also being a leader and setting a standard for other businesses to use ethical products in their buildings,” Griffiths told SmartCompany. 

“The decision is a milestone for real estate and big business in positively contributing to causes that make a difference.”

Since launching in Melbourne in 2012, Who Gives a Crap has given more than 100,000 people access to toilets by donating 50% of its profits to sanitation projects in developing communities.

And the result of the deal with JLL will make you want to give a crap.

By stocking the TAC building with sustainable toilet paper, Who Gives a Crap says it will save more than 180,000 litres of water, 11 tonnes of wood (about 75 trees) and reduce green house emissions by 14 tonnes.

Additionally, nearly 600 people living in crippling poverty will get access to a toilet.

“There will also be a saving of 23,616 kilowatt hours of electricity – enough to power an average Australian home for three years,” says JLL portfolio manager Garry Jones.

It’s a “win-win-win” type of agreement says Griffiths because the partnership not only creates savings for the TAC building but it also preserves lives through the provision of toilets and has a positive impact on the environment.

The Geelong building will be the largest single site using Who Gives A Crap toilet paper,” Griffiths says. 

He hopes the deal will lead the way for more players in the private sector to follow.

“It shows others that a decision as simple as switching toilet paper can really have a huge impact,” he says.

The deal with JLL real estate was facilitated by Impact Investment Group, which has invested in Who Gives a Crap and owns the TAC building.

Impact Investment Group have a dedicated strategy to supporting startups and businesses that work with ethical suppliers.

“We consciously select suppliers that utilise sustainable and ethical practices, and this supply agreement sets an important example for property owners,” says Impact Investment Group CEO and co- founder Chris Lock.

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a journalist at StartupSmart and multimedia content producer. When she’s out of the office, she works on social projects with her We Love It Productions family and buddying filmmakers.

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  • george

    a soft piece. The same entrepreneur was involved in “Shebeen” cafe / bar promising a profit share to needy causes and here’s the recent Age headline.

    ‘Non-profit’ bar Shebeen has not made a donation for almost three years

    This young man needs to clarify exactly how much, how often and to whom he is ” donating 50% of its profits to sanitation projects in developing communities.”