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Virgin Hotels, Ritz-Carlton Join Industry Initiative To Bottle, Sell Water

Several hospitality and tourism brands have joined an initiative to bottle and sell their own water and contribute 10 percent of the proceeds to the WHOLE WORLD Water Fund, which benefits clean and safe water programs around the world.

Several hospitality and tourism brands have joined an initiative to bottle and sell their own water and contribute 10 percent of the proceeds to the WHOLE WORLD Water Fund, which benefits clean and safe water programs around the world.

The enterprise, called WHOLE WORLD Water, is set to launch on World Water Day, March 22, 2013. It includes spas, hotels, resorts and restaurants that will filter their own water into bottles created by renowned product designer Yves Behar and fuseproject. ClimateCare will manage the fund to increase access to safe and clean drinking water around the world.

Participants include Soneva, Virgin Limited Edition, Virgin Hotels, Banyan Tree, Auberge du Soleil, Tao Restaurant Group, The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Dusit Hotels and Resorts, JetWing Hotels, and The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu. WHOLE WORLD Water is currently accepting new members.

Soneva Resorts inspired the initiative and provided seed funding. The company has banned imported water in favor of bottling its own filtered water since 2008. Soneva says revenues were contributed to clean drinking water initiatives, which have resulted in water access for over 600,000 people previously denied.

The United Nations has proclaimed 2013 the Year of International Water Cooperation to raise awareness of the fact that nearly a billion people do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.

“This model reduces shipping pollution, financial and environmental costs, and it’s good for business,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group and advisor to WHOLE WORLD Water.

“The WHOLE WORLD Water model is designed to combat environmental, health and economic issues, as it delivers radical change and drives a more robust bottom-line across the industry,” said Karena Albers, co-founder of WHOLE WORLD Water. “We estimate that with scale, the hospitality and tourism industry can contribute $1 billion per year or more to help eradicate this global issue.”

In December, NativeEnergy, a provider of carbon offsets to brands, nonprofits and individuals, launched a program that produces both clean water and carbon reductions in Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia and other developing countries.

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.

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