During 2012, Pureit focused on distribution expansion in existing markets – India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil – and also launched in new markets such as Sri Lanka and Nigeria.
Expansion in India was the biggest contributor to performance in 2012, where consumers have been attracted to our wider product range.
We have produced various models to appeal to consumers at different income levels and in different markets. The most affordable model costs just €20 in India (1,400 rupees), with an ongoing running cost of just one euro cent for about two litres of safe drinking water. This is lower than the cost of boiling water and significantly less than buying bottled water.
We are working with a range of microfinance and NGO partners to improve the affordability of the purifier for those for whom the price remains a barrier to purchase.
Our ambition to reach 500 million people remains demanding. To achieve our target we plan to expand into more new markets in Africa, while continuing to grow in existing markets.
† To be independently assured by PwC in 2013
Waterworks programme in India
Unilever, through the Unilever Foundation, is partnering with PSI (Population Services International) on Waterworks™. It was launched in June 2012 as a pilot in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Waterworks™ is a not-for-profit programme that provides safe clean drinking water technology to communities in need around the world.
As part of this initiative, PSI trained 75 Waterworkers who educated the neediest people in Bhopal about the importance of clean water and its opportunity to improve the health and wellness of their community.
In March 2013, Waterworks achieved its interim goal of delivering free Pureit water purifiers to 15,000 of the most at-risk poor households, giving access to safe, clean drinking water to 75,000 people across 50 villages and 25 urban slums of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Through Waterworks™, the Unilever Foundation is showing that the right combination of people and technology can lead to social solutions that effectively combat some of the biggest and most difficult challenges we face.
Waterworks is one particular programme that aims to accelerate progress towards our target by building sustainable models to reach households in need with Pureit technology.
Pureit received the accolade for Best R&D and Technological Breakthrough at the 2011–12 UNESCO Water Digest Awards. The judges singled out our water purifier for its first-of-its-kind Advanced Alert System. The system gives consumers an advanced warning on the need to change the reverse osmosis membrane before the water starts turning salty. Its technology effectively removes even high levels of total dissolved solids from ground water, offering drinking water that is tasty and safe.
The UNESCO Water Digest Awards are organised by the international magazine Water Digest and supported by UNESCO and the Ministry of Water Resources in India.
Back in 2008 and again in 2011, Pureit won the Golden Peacock Innovative Product/Service Award in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. The award is made to the product that uses breakthrough technology to achieve maximum customer satisfaction at minimum cost and which is also sustainable.
In 2009 Pureit received external recognition in the UK government-backed innovation awards (the iawards), winning the consumer product category for an innovation which supports society and positively impacts the lives of consumers.
Pureit was also the subject of a Harvard Business School case study published in 2011 and revised in June 2012: Hindustan Unilever’s Pureit Water Purifier, 9-511-067 by VK Rangan and M Sinha (1 February 2011).