This post is sponsored by The Absolut Company.
Roughly a quarter of the world’s population (1.8 billion people) lacks access to safe water and sanitation.
Time is the only resource that’s equally distributed. You, me, Beyoncé and Barack Obama all have 24 hours in a day, just like everyone else. The difference is how much time we must spend on the bare necessities. If you’re reading this, you are likely one of the most privileged people in the world; you don’t have to spend hours every week doing all your laundry by hand, because you have access to a washing machine or a laundry service. You definitely don’t have to spend hours walking every day to haul water just for today’s needs.
I too am one of the privileged people. I’ve lived in New York for the past five years. At times it’s a city that feels like a total bubble, a kind of urban space pod removed from nature somehow. Everything you need is available at the press of a button, the touch of an app, or the hail of a taxi. This amazing availability of services frees up time for us to do other things: work, learn, spend time with family and friends.
Roughly a quarter of the world’s population (1.8 billion people) lacks access to safe water and sanitation. To put that into perspective, more people have access to cellphones than to working toilets. Women and children in those areas spend more than four hours a day walking to get water, something that takes us less than a minute in our homes. And when we turn on our taps, we know that the water that comes out won’t make us sick, something that can’t be said for many of those who walk four hours to fetch it
I am not writing this with the intention to evoke guilty conscience. I am writing this because the global water crisis is the biggest threat facing the planet in the next decade, according to a report from the World Economic Forum at Davos. The water crisis tops issues such as the massive spread of infectious diseases, nuclear weapons, and climate change. I am writing this because the challenge of fixing this problem is too big for any government, NGO, individual or private corporation to tackle alone. It requires a consolidated effort on all fronts.
The encouraging thing is that organizations like Water For People are proving that solutions are possible when everyone works together. Imagine the luxury of four hours extra every day. That is what Water For People are helping people with. But what is our stake in this as a luxury vodka brand?
Zero proof vodka is water. Without water, our product couldn’t exist. This is why the team at our distillery in Åhus in Sweden is working so hard with local farmers to reuse and conserve every drop of water. One example is that we use winter wheat which needs less irrigation than other types of wheat. Another is that the rainwater runoff from the distillery is captured made available to the local farmers. But to take responsibility for water-related issues outside our value chain, we had to go further.
This is where the element of luxury comes in. I believe that the culture of luxury is changing, which presents a new and interesting paradigm. The new generation of consumers is part of an emerging collective conscious that doesn’t take things at face value, that doesn’t care about flaunting your wealth or showing off for the sake of it. For them, luxury requires authenticity and excellently crafted products, but it also requires purpose, soul and shared values.
Our purpose and soul with Elyx is about integrity, about pushing this culture of progressive luxury forward because the world needs more of that. It’s about drawing attention to global water crisis and helping provide the most important drink in the world to those who need it most. That’s why we partnered with Water For People, committing to a long term partnership where every bottle of Elyx sold in the US contributes to lasting access to clean water and sanitation. Our first goal is to give 100,000 people access in the first five years. Imagine what these people can do when they get access not only to the luxury of clean water, but also to four hours a day that can be spent on other things.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by laszlo-photo.