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Dopper is a for-profit company offering an innovative product line of fashionably designed sustainable bottles for drinking water, while attempting to increase access to safe drinking water for people around the world through its foundation. However the main goal is not to make profit for profit’s sake, but to use the money to help sustain operations and make a social impact.
The Dopper is a reusable, water bottle made from 100% recyclable materials, containing no toxins or banned substances. Not only is the water bottle sleek and modern in appearance, the top part of the base unscrews to form a small cup.
The design of the water bottle was created by Rinke van Remorte, who participated in Merijn Everaarts quest to find the “the perfect reusable bottle for drinking water” in 2010. Remorte beat nearly a 100 other contestants because he provided a sleek and clean design while also making it durable (lasting up to five years). To make the bottle even more unique, if the bottle is turned upside down, it looks like it is on a pedestal, emphasizing to the consumer the urgency of providing clean water in reusable plastic bottles. In addition, this is great aesthetically, since it is very modifiable to fit all kinds of consumer needs to carry liquids.
The bottle was successful in its aim to bring awareness to the overuse of plastic.
The first real Dopper bottles were released on October 10, 2010, also known as Durability Day which created a lot of media attention.
Now, the bottle has become an integral part of everyday life since it can be seen everywhere. It’s a fun product with a serious message. Unlike ordinary recycled bottles, Dopper has become a “fashion statement,” where a person can be considered “hip and trendy” when seen carrying it, as noted from our interviewee, Charlotte Van Den Broek, Marketing Director.
“I once saw a shocking documentary about the huge amount of plastic that manages to make its way into our oceans, where it changes into a giant garbage patch that resembles plastic soup. I also noticed how many plastic mineral water bottles are thrown away every day, even though in many countries the best drinking water simply comes from the tap.
This certainly made me feel uncomfortable. I just had to do something about it!,” says Merijn Everaarts, Dopper founder.
The original idea came about five years ago when the founder Merijn Everaarts saw a documentary about albatross dying and choking on plastic left in the ocean. Shocked by the lack of awareness of the issue, he started to raise awareness by initiating flashmob movements and a sustainable arty bottle contest. The goal was to gather local artists to create the “coolest” design for a sustainable bottle. This idea turned into a business project known now as Dopper.
The Dopper goal is to make a sustainable bottle with a “cool” design, cooler than a classic "bottle Evian" as our interviewee would say.
Concerning the financial organization, 5% of revenue goes to the foundation, 2.5% revenue goes to Nepal.
We chose one quotation from the interview that illustrates the motivation behind the innovation: “Nepal is the heritage of our founder. now we want to expand to other countries and partnering with other companies where we want to expand.”
We asked Charlotte about the Nepal project and why the foundation decided to focus on this country in particular. The founder shares a strong connection with this country as well as the Dutch in general. Also, Nepal is too often a victim of earthquakes destroying thousands of villages, destroying water pipes. The foundation’s action distinguishes itself by not only generating revenue to send money to the villagers, but also to educate them and raise awareness concerning sanitary habits and water usage.
Initially, the company would sell their products on a Business to Business scheme. Nowadays, Dopper is sold directly to consumers.
Dopper has two main streams of impact, first through raising awareness from the bottle itself and the other is the Foundation’s impact on the ground. Dopper was born from a desire to educate the world on the environmental destruction plastic water bottles are having. The mission of the Dopper team is that they want to live in a world where people are aware of the environment, humanity actively reduces the amount of single use plastic waste, and where everyone, close to home and far away, has access to safe drinking water. With the reusable bottle design of high quality plastic and steel, Dopper contributes to the reduction of these environmental problems and encourages the use of tap water as a cheap and environmentally friendlier alternative to bottled water.
Dopper’s slogan is “The Bottle is the Message” and the Dopper team is making an impact through the sales of the bottle. At the beginning of the Dopper company, the team was focused on business to business transactions but now they have shifted to a consumer based strategy. Charlotte van den Broek, marketing executive at Dopper states that by selling directly to the consumer, they are having more of an impact with the mission because people are conscious about why they are buying and using the bottle.
The other stream of impact is through the Dopper Foundation. The Dopper Foundation was founded in 2013 and – funded by 5% of the Dopper net sales revenue, sponsorship and donations, the foundation finances water and sanitation projects worldwide, including Nepal in collaboration with Simavi. The Foundation uses half its resources to partner with Simavi, and half the funding to develop educational programs, the Dopper Water & Waste Academy, in countries where tap water is already a common resource.
Accomplishments of the Dopper Foundation: 18,000 people have access to safe drinking water, 1,924 households have access to sanitation, 204 people were trained to provide information about water sanitation and hygiene & waste collection and processing, 45 people were trained as plumbers for technical maintenance, 64 campaigns in villages, 32 in schools, and €168,217 invested from the Dopper Foundation.
For its innovative design and sustainability practices, Dopper has won several certifications which supports their claim that they are making a positive difference. Dopper is officially certified as a B Corp (Benefit Corporation), and therefore belongs to a global movement of rebels with a cause. This certification is granted to companies that make a social and ecological impact, take responsibility and are transparent about how they contribute to the economy of the future. That is exactly what Dopper is doing, making an environmental and social impact through a water bottle with a mission.
Total revenue for 2014 was 140,000,000 compared to 2,000,000 in 2013. The Dopper has been extremely beneficial for the business and has grown the company.
Dopper constantly is educating people about the massive amount of plastic waste that is currently produced. Dopper is seeking to create a social mission to drastically reduce the waste in the water industry and decrease the desire to use disposable water bottles. In addition, 5% of revenue goes to the Dopper Foundation to improve drinking water and sanitation through projects in countries like Nepal where 11% of the population lacks access to safe drinking water.
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Charlotte Van Den Broek, Marketing Director