Ecofiltro 4

Product made in Guatemala and well made

Eco filtro

3. Good Health and Well-Being 6. Clean Water and Sanitation 10. Reduced Inequalities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

Ecofiltro is a Guatemalan company, established in 2012 as a social enterprise focused on the fight against malnutrition through the access to clean water and sanitation. This indirectly helps other SDGs, such as climate action (by reducing GHGs emissions into the atmosphere) and good health and well-being for their users.

Since its founding, the company has obtained different recognitions, including:

Winner of the Innovation Open for being a sustainable brand.

Top 10 social entrepreneurships in Latin America 2014 by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency.

First Latin American company to receive the Achievement Award IPMA in 50 years.

The company also carries different types of programs, such as the “School Program,” that identify and supply filters to schools. From 2014-2020, they have delivered over 31,000filters to schools, helping more than 900,000 children in Guatemala alone.

Authors

Jose Manuel Luengo

Jose Manuel Luengo

Francisco Obando

Francisco Obando

Victoria Colino Colmenar

Victoria Colino Colmenar

luis Porta

luis Porta

Alejandro Porras

Alejandro Porras

School

Universidad de Navarra

Universidad de Navarra

Professor

Isabel Rodriguez Tejedo

Isabel Rodriguez Tejedo

Innovation

The main focus of Ecoflitro is to facilitate the access to clean water and sanitation, which also complements other SDGs, such as “health and well-being” and “climate action.” This not only helps those in need but indirectly prevents the burning of firewood used to boil water or the use of plastic bottles.

As the official web page of the company states, its product consists of a filter that “traps solid sediments, parasites, parasite eggs and bacteria that contaminate water. The sawdust turns into charcoal, so it eliminates most of the bad taste/smell of the water.” For their production, the company uses renewable energy. The company states that for a country to achieve its potential and increase productivity, it is necessary to focus on the health of its population.

Unlike other companies, Ecofiltro is even financially sustainable. Its different presentations in ceramic or stainless steel (which vary only on the outside) allow their most basic plastic presentation to keep prices low and constant. In fact, the company has not changed the price of the plastic filter, despite the effects of inflation. This allows them to reach low-income families.

Similarly, the company prevents Guatemalan families from burning around 22 kg of firewood per day to boil water, which helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Currently, there are 62 factories in 39 countries with this technology, including Indonesia and Cambodia. This is possible since the inventor of the product donated his creation to the world.

Product made in Guatemala and well made

Inspiration

One of the biggest problems in the world is access to clean water. At least two billion people around the world are believed to use infected water, which “causes more deaths than any type of violence, including wars,” said Phillip Wilson, EcoFiltro executive director and co-owner.

Long before starting Ecofiltro, the Wilson family had a non-profit organization that addressed different social needs at the territorial level. One of his main goals: to fight malnutrition. Phillip Wilson’s sister, a nutritionist, realized that the starting point to achieve this was to emphasize the access to water. Because of this, the organization began a water chlorination program, but it did not succeed. “We failed for one simple reason, and that is because people don’t like the taste of chlorinated water,” he noted. Shortly after, they met Fernando Mazariegos, a recognized and respected Guatemalan pharmaceutical chemist, who showed them his invention: a pot-shaped filter that purifies and that makes water drinkable. “This invention replicates what nature does in a thousand meters, but in just a couple of inches, all with natural materials,” Wilson added. It was at that very moment that Ecofiltro was born, a social enterprise focused on bringing drinking water to the Guatemalan population.

Overall impact

The principal innovation from the product is that it enables people to drink and accumulate drinking water in places where it is very difficult or expensive to obtain.

In the short term, this innovation affects all kinds of people regardless of income because if the water from their country is not drinkable, they will need to buy one of these products. As a result, people that have an Ecofiltro will have drinkable water at any time of day. For people with scarce resources, it will provide them with a source of drinkable water for a long time, with them only having to change the filter infrequently.

In the long term, this innovation will be very important for the environment given that it drastically reduces the amount of plastic or other contaminating materials produced. It will also help inspire a lot of new companies in other countries that want to contribute towards climate change. Hopefully, thanks to all these companies, in the near future, governments will start to implement these ideas within their countries.

Finally, the impact of this innovation can be measured by the amount of contaminating materials that the country produces and how they are being reduced. Hopefully in the near future, many new companies similar to this one emerge and contribute to climate change.

Business benefit

EcoFiltro benefits a vast majority of people, from businesses to their own clients as it has created a lot of employment throughout the years in Guatemala and had a huge impact on hundreds of people through their filtering water system. Ecofiltro benefits not only its consumers but also many Guatemalan businesses as they collaborate with them in order to offer clean water to more rural and poor areas. Filtering water is crucial for clean and healthy living for people of all incomes.

Ecofiltro is very green friendly as it lasts for a very long time and there is no need to change the filters often. They are made from sustainable materials that do not pollute and contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment. This innovation benefits the business as it earns a profit and contributes to a cleaner environment that prevents people from drinking contaminated water.

Social and environmental benefit

EcoFiltro benefits both society and the environment. The social impact goal of the firm is to benefit children who do not have access to clean water, primarily in rural areas. The company’s best approach to reach them is through their schools.More than 5,638 schools have benefited from this program, including more than 31,958 water filters and 938,859 kids. The program “water for life” also involves the students' parents, so children have access to purified water in both their homes and schools.

On the other hand, this innovation benefits the environment by promoting afforestation and discouraging deforestation. Every day, more than 2,000 trees are saved. The Ecofiltro eliminates the need to cut down trees for wood used to boil water. Another way it benefits the environment is by avoiding contamination by reducing water bottles used by the Guatemalan population.

Interview

Philip Wilson, Executive Director and partial owner

Photo of interviewee

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Eco filtro

Eco filtro

Guatemala city, Guatemala, GT

Business Website: https://www.ecofiltro.com.gt

Year Founded: 1992

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Ecofiltro is a Guatemalan social business which focuses on filtering water. Sink water in Guatemala is not purified, so people with low resources lack it, and a big percentage of people in rural areas end up getting sick because of the bacteria in the water they drink. Ecofiltro focuses on a hybrid approach to this problem in which sales from urban areas help reduce the price on sales to families in rural areas and those with low resources. There are more than 700,000 filters around the country. There is no need to change or buy a new filter as the product is made out of sustainable materials: clay, sawdust and colloidal silver.