Impact project/investment of the year - water: Water Unite Impact

Water Unite Impact (WUI) is an investment fund that aims to finance water, sanitation and plastics recycling enterprises. It was launched towards the end of 2020 in a collaboration between non-profit Water Unite and impact investment manager Wellers Impact. 

The scheme leverages and directs funding raised through directing ‘micro-contributions’ – one cent or penny per litre of water sold by retailers – towards scalable projects and social businesses which have a huge potential to transform lives.

Multi-year money commitments have been made by cornerstone supporters, including, UK grocery retailer Co-op and food services company Elior.

The fund has begun making investments, the first being Sanivation, the organisation uses technology and a low-cost business model to convert faecal sludge into biomass briquettes that are then sold as a replacement for firewood. Improvements to living standards will be made possible for hundreds of thousands of people as well as community infrastructure.

The WUI model seeks to use micro-contributions to attract much needed commercial capital to the sector by using an innovative structure, achieving a financial return while meeting environmental and social objectives. The pilot responds to a need for more funding to work towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 of clean water and sanitation for all.

Wellers Impact COO Roopal Kanabar said: “At Wellers Impact, we are extremely proud and delighted to have won this award.

“This award provides the marketplace with even more confidence that our innovative structure of leveraging donations with commercial capital can catalyse the much-needed change in the water sector.

“We hope that our model will scale impact in a way that cannot be achieved with philanthropic capital alone, changing the lives of millions.”