May 15, 2017

Water, The Co-op Way

We’re proud to say that now, all bottled water does good from the Co-op. We’ve extended our commitment to tackling water poverty even further, by becoming the first pioneer partner of a new initiative called the Global Investment Fund for Water (GIFFW).

GIFFW is a partnership with the bottled water sector to end water poverty. The GIFFW plan is to raise contributions from the sales and distribution of bottled water around the world to create a massive fighting fund for water and sanitation – targeting the 663 million people who still do not have access to clean, safe water and more than 2 billion who lack access to a toilet.

Our Co-op will be the first UK retailer to sign up to GIFFW. We’ve been tackling water poverty globally for over 10 years through our partnership with The One Foundation, celebrating £7million raised and 1.5 million lives changed last November. For every litre sold of our own-brand still, sparkling or flavoured water, 3p is donated to The One Foundation and towards clean water and sanitation projects.

Our work with the GIFFW means that sales of branded bottles of water will also contribute towards water projects to eradicate water poverty. Our commitment is a 1p per litre donation from all branded bottles sold in Co-op Food stores. This will provide an additional a £900,000 a year to our current donations. In total, our donations to clean water and sanitary projects globally will total £2.2m annually now – that’s something to be really proud of.

The Co-op team visited Malawi with the One Foundation last year, to check in on some of the projects we were funding through Co-op own brand water. Malawi, ranked by the World Bank as the world’s poorest country in 2015, has been impacted severely by climate change and is a key focus for the Foundation.

Thoko’s story, Mpeni Village Malawi

One of the villages the team visited was Mpeni, were a borehole was built in 2014 to provide clean water to 70 households in the community – 420 people. Before the pump, the women of Mpeni collected water from an open well at the bottom of a steep hill 1km away. This was a difficult journey in rainy season, with many women falling during the walk and spilling their water on the way. The village valued the new pump so highly that a village water committee has been built to keep the vital system running smoothly – including a water tariff and village roster.

 “We’re so grateful for the work in our village.  We often suffered illness when we drank from the unprotected water source and Cholera was present in our village.  We have seen a reduction in disease over the last two years since we have been drinking water from the water pump.  With the time saved on collecting water we can now tend to our fields and plant crops”. Thoko Mathotho , Community member

Co-op members can join us on the 20th May to hear more about how our Co-op is tackling water poverty at our Water Poverty Fringe Event with the One Foundation (9-10am).

For more information about the GIFFW and the part we play, visit

Cathryn Higgs
Head of Food Policy

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Bravo Co-op, leading the field again!



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