Meet Simon Griffiths. As a student of economics and engineering at the University of Melbourne, he aspired to work for McKinsey, the worlds top management and consultancy firm. His rationale being, that he wanted to make lots of money. For two years he called and emailed and bothered McKinsey, hoping to secure a highly sought after graduate position.
Fast forward a couple of years and Simon is glad he wasn’t immediately offered the position. The application process gave him time to think. In an overused but sincere cliche, he says that at the end of the day “the real outcome is that your helping another company maximize their profit and perhaps they’re doing it in a way you’re not super-psyched about.” He adds that “although I like the problem solving and innovation work you do with someone like McKinsey” he would rather use his skills to “create change”. So, when McKinsey finally did come knocking, he turned them down.
With this behind him and a newly grown moustache / beard, Griffiths is pushing forward with a simple aim. To save the world using toilet paper and beer.
Harnessing the consumerist nature of western culture, Griffiths has embarked on two projects simultaneously.
The first, “Who gives a crap?” uses toilet paper as a medium primarily to drive profits, but secondarily, to drive awareness of poor sanitation in developing countries. Currently, 2.4 billion people don’t have access to proper toilets and the resulting poor sanitation, fills half of the worlds hospital beds. So, “Who gives a crap?” are donating half of their profits to rectify this situation and build badly needed sewerage systems and toilets. It’s not as glamorous as building schools, but it is just as necessary. If not more.
The second social enterprise is a bar that is due to open shortly in Melbourne. Shebeen runs on a simple premise. It is not for profit. Its sells exotic beers and wines from the developing world. Profits from each drink sale support a development project in that drink’s country of origin. And that’s it.
Griffiths knows what “its” about. He is a great and very real example of acting local, thinking global. There will be those who will see the irony in buying products and making profits to help the needy, but if it’s still helping the needy, then who cares?
Take your hats off to Simon Griffiths everybody.
- Who Gives A Crap: Toilet Paper With A Mission (InnovationToronto.com)
- ‘Who Gives A Crap’ toilet paper rolls out for charity (mumbrella.com.au)
- Toilets are us – or them (radioadelaidebreakfast.wordpress.com)