This "catalytic philanthropy" is a trend that the finance sector is following closely. "Innovative investments like these, aimed at solving specific problems, have emerged in recent years," says Rina Kupferschmid-Rojas, head of sustainable finance, UBS & Society, adding "in our view, they will continue to grow in popularity."
UBS is a market leader in impact investment, where investors potentially receive a financial return as well as supporting a positive social or environmental impact.
"We estimate that the current global water market is roughly $500 billion to $600 billion annually," says Kupferschmid-Rojas, adding, "market studies estimate that the market size could reach $1 trillion by 2020."
She views the longer-term growth outlook as "compelling," saying UBS expects to see water demand "exceed supply over the next several decades, and that requires additional investment."
Mumbai-based ThinkPhi is a start-up that has also spotted the market potential. Its patented system, Model 1080, smartly combines collected rainwater and renewable energy to produce clean water.
ThinkPhi solar-powered inverted canopy is one remarkably simple solution to an incredibly complex problem. The product can harvest rainwater and filter it to generate more than 125,000 liters of drinking water while at the same time generating up to 2.2KWp (kilowatt peak) of solar energy.
Set up by wife and husband Priya and Samit Choksi in 2015, ThinkPhi was not just looking for innovative but "transformational" products.
"We were focusing on disruptive ideas to open up new markets," explains Priya Choksi, who trained as an architect in Atlanta.
With more than 40 percent of the world's population affected by water scarcity–a number only set to increase–it's clear that governments alone cannot solve the problem.
As businesses firm their commitment to the United Nation's SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and more investors seek out sustainable investment funds, there is no doubt that "clean water" projects like Water.org and ThinkPhi will continue to spring up.
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