On December 12, 2017, Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group and Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, have decided to reject fatalism in the face of the ecological emergency for our planet by bringing together in Paris international leaders and committed citizens from around the world. Together, they have launched a major project to win the battle against climate change.
WeCo was one of the few French start-ups selected to present its solutions and technology to an international institutional audience, including Bill Gates, a key player in the toilet revolution. Recall that more than 3 billion people in the world do not have access to toilets and that water and sanitation have been called by the UN the 6th goal for sustainable development
Here is WeCo’s pitch text at this Global Forum for the Planet where 50 heads of state and government were present.
“I am living a love story. It’s magic and frightening. Magic because it is unpredictable. I am in love with toilets! Frightening because the issues are huge. In France we are wasting more than 4700 liters of clean water per second to flush the toilets.
In the world, more than 3 billion people do not have access to proper toilets. This is why, toilets are a UN sustainable development goal.
The logic for investing in toilets is simple: toilets are the world’s cheapest medicine. Sanitation was voted the greatest medical milestone of the last 150 years, higher than vaccines, antibiotics and anaesthesia, because passive protection against health hazards is often the best way to improve a population’s health. For example in 1832, the cholera killed 20000 people because of Paris’s ancient public hygiene system, where people threw sewage into gutters running down the middle of the street, allowing the disease to rip through the city at an alarming rate. Keep that in mind, cholera reflects a lack of sanitation system.
Toilets mean dignity, and in some countries, safety. In India thousands of women are raped because they do not have toilets at home and have to go during the night to the toilets in the countryside. There is successful Bollywood movie now in India which inspires my title.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the French Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, the porcelain urinal voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century. There couldn’t be a better way, and time, to spread sanitation awareness by cultural means.
Therefore in WeCo we have combined the French design and creativity to our innovative and engineering spirit to create non sewered, sustainable and design flushing toilets.
We have developed a technology transforming urine into clean water. Meaning that we do not waste water, and we even produce clean treated water from urine. All the bacteria are killed. And the faecal sludge is digested by a biological treatment, reducing the frequency of collection twice a year when a chemical toilet has to be emptied every day…
This technology already answers to most of the social and health issues in emerging countries where there is no sewer network and then, no proper sanitation.
But it also answers to more and more request from developed countries to have sustainable toilets, not being dry toilets that are not accepted socially and do kill the bacteria: diseases can spread off. You heard about sustainable cities, eco-districts, or renovation of old building without access to sewer connection. WeCo is the solution to all of these various hypotheses.
We decided to make sustainable but also design toilets, attractive, not to say sexy. We want the people from all over the world to be happy to use them according to their culture in terms of sanitation and hygiene.
In China President Xi wants to develop the country by developing its inland tourism. He launched the toilet revolution. We won a prize from the Chinese National Tourism Agency for our eco-design toilets to develop the tourism there.
In Africa we will be launching a project in Senegal to test and adapt our toilets to African countries where the water is lacking, where more than 4.000 children are dying each day from diarrhea, which seems unbelievable in 2017 from our French perspective. Cholera is killing people in townships like in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa where there is no toilets, where people are using plastic bags to defecate and where waste are everywhere, spreading diseases that we in France believe have disappeared long time ago. Em >
You know we are spending more than 4 years of our life on the toilets.
For all these reasons, in WeCo we believe it is worth making nice, high tech and sustainable toilets for everyone in the world. We are making a sustainable revolution in the toilets world. ”