Procter and Gamble’s PuR Water Purifier:
The hunt for a Sustainable Business Model
Author(s): Lisa Jones Christensen, Jessica Thomas
Institution: Kenan Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, USA
Competition Year: 2008
Place: 2nd place
Key words: Water purification, Drinking water, Distribution mode, Scaling up, Emerging markets
Over the last 6 years, under the leadership of Dr. Greg Allgood, director of the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, P&G has helped to distribute 65 million PuR packets. These packets have been used to purify 650 million litres of water, most often in rural locations. Over time, and through a variety of deliberate partnerships that Allgood cultivated in 10 countries, P&G has tested three different sales and distribution models: commercial marketing, social marketing and disaster relief – each with varying degrees of success.
Drawing from past successes and failures, Allgood is considering how to fulfill P&G’s aggressive commitment to providing 135 million litres of safe drinking water in Africa and how to achieve long term behaviour change. This case presents the range of business models that P&G has explored for the sales and distribution of PuR. The case also presents the risks and hurdles inherent in these projects, as well as implications for their potential scalability to other countries/regions. Through this case, students may gain insight into both the challenges and significant opportunities in addressing the needs of low-income consumers in emerging markets.
Case Purchase Information
Please contact Lisa Jones Christensen for permission rights. This case is also part of the new oikos Case Collection book (Volume 2): Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability published by Greenleaf.