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Turning waste into opportunity

One solution to tackling poor sanitation.

Related topics Global review
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Section 1

How can one toilet benefit hundreds of people?

Taking an entrepreneurial approach to tackling poor sanitation

Sanergy is a great example of a small and growing business purposefully driving progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Committed to advancing equitable access to improved sanitation (SDG 6), the company makes and sells low-cost, high-quality toilets for use by residents of Nairobi’s informal settlements (slums). Here, open sewers, poor sanitation and lack of clean water are some of the biggest causes of death in children under the age of five.

As well as working with landlords who provide the toilets as a value-add service to their tenants, Sanergy also works with entrepreneurs who operate their own toilets as small businesses, charging fellow residents on a pay-per-use basis.

With toilets designed to collect waste into sealed plastic containers, Sanergy staff collect these containers and take them to a processing site where that waste is turned into organic fertilizer, insect-based animal feed and renewable energy.

In addition to the toilets and the waste collection service, Sanergy also provides franchisees with training, access to financing, and ongoing operational and marketing support.

Today there are hundreds of Sanergy toilets across Nairobi, serving over 30,000 people every day, and helping to convert more than 8,000 tons of waste into useful by-products.

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Section 2

Taking the business to the next level

Joining forces with Nairobi’s city leaders to scale-up the solution

Having proven their approach, Sanergy now wants to partner with Nairobi’s city leaders to take their business to the next step.

They asked for our help to develop a new financial model: one that details the cost-per-customer of their solutions, and the public subsidy required to scale-up and operate the business in a public/private partnership, which Sanergy will present to Nairobi’s city leaders.

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Section 3

How can infrastructure keep up with urbanization?

Bringing new ways of thinking to long-standing challenges

Sixty-percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050
Jon Shepard
Director, EY

“But the infrastructure on the ground isn’t always keeping up with this expansion. This means there’s a really big opportunity for what’s called ‘non-sewered sanitation’, which is what Sanergy is focused on.

“We’re proud that we can use the knowledge, skills and experience of our people to support innovative companies like Sanergy. The ripple effect of helping them grow is providing life-saving access to safe, dignified and affordable sanitation for hundreds of thousands of people.”

As well as helping individual impact entrepreneurs improve their businesses’ resilience, productivity and capacity for sustainable growth, we are also collaborating with other organizations to translate what we learn from these projects into broader insights.

From providing guidance on improving the growth potential of businesses advancing equitable access to safe water and non-sewered sanitation, to tackling the challenge of last-mile distribution, we aim to help accelerate the growth of entire sectors.

Summary

EY is working with Sanergy to help scale a business that is helping to make basic sanitation affordable and accessible in some of Nairobi’s poorest areas.