Council helps African communities through vending sales

Liverpool City Council’s decision to stock Thirsty Planet bottled water in vending machines in all of its 15 leisure centres has benefited 20 rural communities in Malawi and Zimbabwe which now have a constant supply of clean and disease-free water for the first time.

The council signed a contract with leading vending operator Autobar to supply 500ml PET bottles of Thirsty Planet as part of its vending offering in leisure centres one year ago. For every bottle sold a donation of 5p goes to the charity Pump Aid, which helps impoverished people gain access to clean water and adequate sanitation. Pump Aid’s simple and cost-effective water pump, nicknamed the Elephant pump, can supply 250 people with 40 litres of clean water a day and costs just £250 for materials. Thirsty Planet accounts for forty per cent of vending sales in Liverpool leisure centres.

Councillor Tina Gould of Liverpool Council said “As a Fairtrade council we take our role in making a difference to the global community very seriously and we hope others will follow our lead and support charities through the simple measure of selecting brands such as Thirsty Planet.”

Paul Martin, managing director of Waterbrands, the parent company of Thirsty Planet, and Dominic Bowers, Autobar account manager, recently presented Councillor Gould with certificates to mark the council reaching elite ‘gold’ status, awarded to organisations which have funded 10 or more pumps.

Paul Martin said: ”A growing number of organisations, including several other local councils, are choosing good cause or Fairtrade brands where they are available. Part of the appeal of Thirsty Planet for customers is knowing exactly how much each bottle sale generates for Pump Aid and where the money is spent.”

Thirsty Planet was launched in March 2007 and has raised more than £940,000 for Pump Aid.