Ginza×CSR・CSV Vol.33 BRITA Japan

Drinking water ecologically: solving plastic waste issues through water purifiers


“GINZA×CSR” Vol. 33 will introduce BRITAJapan, a household water purifier manufacturer. Established in Germany in 1966, the company is undertaking various projects that contribute to solving marine plastic waste issues, under the corporate mission of “changing the way people drink water sustainably.” We asked Mr. Tokihide Sakota, Manager of the Marketing Division at BRITAJapan about the company’s dedication to solve social issues through business.

Water purification solutions that change the common sense of life from inside the household to outside

  • ─ Established in 1966, BRITA has called for the creation of a sustainable society through water purifiers far before plastic waste became a major issue.
  • BRITA was established in Germany with the mission of “changing the way people drink water sustainably.” Although we are engaged in B2C globally, we are more focused on B2C in Japan and sell residential water purifiers and portable water filters.

    Japan has the world’s highest level of water infrastructure and people have easy access to tap water that is drinkable without boiling. On the other hand, it is second only to the US in termed of the amount of waste plastics generated per capita. Every year 22.7 billion PET bottles are used for beverages (according to fiscal 2016 data by the PET Bottle Recycling Association). By using water filters or water filter bottles, we can reduce the amount of PET bottles used, which will also lead to savings.
  • ─The conventional water purifier is a device attached to the faucet, but we developed and released a product named “fill & go” that presents the novel concept of portable water filters. It received the Good Design Award in 2017.
  • fill&go is an innovative product that can replace bottled mineral water by extending the idea of “bringing filtered water from home” to filtering outside the home. Of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), which are often stressed as important, it is most essential to reduce.

    Japan boasts a high collection rate of PET bottles at around 85%, but it is also pointed out that only 10% of collected PET bottles are actually recycled. Therefore, in order to fundamentally solve the issue, it is important to reduce use.

    If three PET bottles are consumed per person every day, then that would be equivalent to ninety bottles per month and 1,080 bottles per year. Portable water filters are consumer-friendly options that not only contribute to reducing environmental burden but also lead to consumer-friendly savings.

Personal bottle with water filter “fill&go”

Aiming for collective impact and enhancing collaboration

  • ─ With an aim to reduce single-use plastic waste, we launched the BRITA EcoWater Action 2021 in June 2019.
  • In order to address the grand issue of “sustainability,” it is essential that efforts are not limited to our individual organizations but that we reach out and involve concerned groups so that the strengths of each group can be harnessed toward achieving the goal.

    Having hosted river cleanups in the Arakawa River and tree planting events in Mt. Fuji, etc. in the past, we decided that we would integrate these individual activities in the context of different settings and social change, and create partnerships transcending individual companies and organizations. We felt that by bringing these activities and actors together we could seek to have “collective impact (*).”

    (*) “Collective impact,” first defined in 2011 in a paper published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, refers to approaches that seek to solve social issues through partnerships transcending a diversity of organizations (e.g. companies, administration, NPO, universities).。

    Currently, plastic waste has become a global concern. In Japan, all government ministries have prohibited the use of single-use plastics in their cafeterias and shops, as a rule, and more companies are abolishing the use of plastics as well.

    For BRITA EcoWater Action 2021, we recruited participants from four categories: companies, administration, NPOs and students. Through 2021, we will campaign to raise awareness of reducing plastic waste by enhancing social impact through interconnection among participants.

Students from SHIOZEMI at Atomi University


We look forward to receiving open and creative ideas from students
in the “My Bottle” Contest for Students

  • ─ I have been told that you often go to see the projects yourself.
  • Yes, I like seeing people at work. Meeting different people offers opportunities to come in contact with diverse stories and points of views. They are often the source of new ideas and I feel increasingly motivated to cause action.

    Being involved in the river cleanup in Arakawa River, I have witnessed the deplorable truth that it takes only a week for the river to be filled with plastic waste again. I was also inspired by the various ideas and discussions by the young people participating in the Y20 Summit, formally held concurrently with the G20 Summit meeting.

A massive amount of waste was collected in one day at the river cleanup in Arakawa River.

迫田さんは自然が大好きで、アウトドアや登山等に出かけることも多く、<br class=昔から環境に対する関心が強いという。
「自然から力を与えられていることを実感する日々」と話す ” />

A nature-lover, Mr. Sakota spends much time outdoors and often goes mountain-climbing. He has been greatly concerned about environmental issues for quite a long time. He says, “Every day, I am reminded that nature empowers me.”

  • ─ Mr. Sakota has also served Will Lab, a program promoted by the Ministry of the Environment that seeks to discover young entrepreneurs as a mentor.
  • BRITA was also established from an entrepreneurial spirit. The ideas of leading an ecological life by using water purifiers and taking the water filter outside the home are simple approaches, but in developing the new product, we struggled to achieve the right pricing, size, user-friendliness, and design that would be acceptable by consumers. BRITA is very happy to have been given opportunity to support entrepreneurs under this program.

With Ginza, continuing to communicate cutting-edge values

  • ─ Before we close, please share your feelings for Ginza.
  • <
  • Ginza is always ahead of the times and is a hub where information gathers and is released. It is also an international town and more customers here are sensitive to sustainability compared to other areas. We moved to Ginza three years ago and we hope to connect with more organizations and people in Ginza to stimulate change.
銀座にある中越パルプ工業で開催された「銀座ソーシャル映画祭」。BRITA EcoWater Actoin2021では銀座ソーシャル映画祭とも連携し、サンプリングや「マイボトル宣言」を行っている

The Ginza Social Film Festival held at Chuetsu Pulp & Paper
BRITA EcoWater Action 2021 collaborates with the Ginza Social Film Festival
and conducts sampling tests and “My Bottle Declaration” campaigns.

迫田 時秀
Manager, Marketing Division, BRITA Japan Co., Ltd

Tokihide Sakota

After graduating from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, Aoyama Gakuin University, Mr. Sakota joined Toshiba. For fifteen years, he was in charge of hard disk drive-related marketing and planning new products and was involved in developing new businesses, including developing the external hard disk drive business. In 2016, he joined BRITA Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of German water purifier manufacturer BRITA and was assigned to market water filtering bottles when the company released portable water filtering bottles. He currently promotes water filtering bottles as alternatives to mineral water in PET bott
今井 麻希子

Makiko Imai

alterna Having worked for several foreign IT firms, Imai shifted the target of her work to environmental and social issues after participating in the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity as an NGO member. She currently conducts interviews, edits and writes articles, develops educational programs and offers interactive counselling sessions.

Written by: Makiko Imai/ Planned and edited by: alterna

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