MiiR thinks about sustainability from the ground up. As a water bottle company, MiiR has an idea bigger than the sustainable product it sells: from the very beginning, they decided to implement the one4one initiative: One dollar of every water bottle purchase provides one person with clean water for a year.
We talked to MiiR founder Bryan Pape about what it means to design for social change. From the very beginning, MiiR wasn’t building a brand around admonishing people for buying plastic Evians. “It’s not compelling to tell someone not to do something but then to buy your product,” Bryan said.
In 2009, Bryan had a water bottle with an exclusive design that made it easy to use: it looked different from any other bottle on the market, and its perfect seal technology made it safer and easier to drink from. The product itself is also sustainable: it’s made from stainless steel, toxin-free, and 100% recyclable.
But as a company, MiiR had an opportunity to connect consumers with one of the most important humanitarian issues: the 1 billion people who lack clean water access. Through one4one, MiiR has raised $70,000 to fund 9 water projects across southeast Asia and Africa.
Bryan talked to us about why their spin on one4one makes sense. Rather than choosing one product to donate in bulk to these regions, MiiR wanted to support projects for sustainable development.
Indeed, Bryan spoke openly about how challenging water projects are, explaining details down to making sure that they not only give people wells for clean water, but make sure that remote communities have ways to repair their wells and water lines if they break. That’s why training people about their water systems is an important part of the project.
But though the projects are complex, MiiR’s financial model is simple. Rather than using less transparent ways to give back – like a percentage that could fluctuate or depend on the product – Bryan wanted a concrete method that people could understand. And, as his research showed, 100 pennies is indeed what it takes to give an individual safe water for a year.
MiiR’s next initiative is about making their picture even clearer. Beginning this winter, MiiR will register every single bottle they sell so that customers can log onto their website and track exactly where their dollar goes. They’re available at Designed Good for the next two weeks.