A Backpack that Saves Lives: National Organization Honors Ohio Company’s Mission to Rethink the Transportation of Water

Invention Can Save The Lives Of Millions Of Women And Children Who Die Of Preventable Diseases Caused By Unsafe Water

COLUMBUS, OH — Columbus for-profit social enterprise, Impact Economics, has earned a top “Smart Power Innovation” recognition from the Washington, DC-based U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) for its ground-breaking work with the Greif manufactured PackH2O water backpack that not only relieves the physical stress of carrying water long distances, but also keeps it safe from contamination for water-stressed regions all over the world. PackH20 has been selected as one of the 30 leading innovations across America tackling some of the world’s toughest problems in the “Innovations in Smart Power: Impact at Home & Abroad” report.

As more than one billion people lack access to clean water in their homes, leading to 3 million deaths annually, PackH20’s light-weight, water backpack is a revolutionary solution towards addressing the global water crisis.  The ergonomic, gender-neutral, and hands-free backpack eases the physical stress of carrying water by distributing the burden evenly on the wearers’ back and hips. When empty, the backpack is collapsible and seven times lighter and smaller than existing containers, such as jerry cans. The backpack also has a removable liner that, after use, is easily sanitized with exposure to sunlight.

PackH20 is manufactured by Ohio-based company Greif, Inc. and distributed by Ohio-based Impact Economics LLC both of whom are not only contributing to sales, business and processing jobs locally, but are also creating micro-business opportunities abroad. Currently, women in Guatemala and Nairobi are becoming micro-entrepreneurs by selling and repairing PackH20s in their own communities.

In partnership with The Clinton Global Initiative and the help of nonprofit partners such as Operation Blessing International, Habitat for Humanity International, Partners for Care, Partners in Health, Special Olympics & CxCatalysts, $1.2 million has been raised to help with the distribution of over 100,000 backpacks to more than 25 countries, including Haiti, Guatemala, India, Mexico, The Philippines, Kenya, and Malawi.

“PackH20 is one of the best examples of a smart, powerful innovation that is changing the world and making a difference at home in Ohio,” said Liz Schrayer, Executive Director of USGLC. “Using the power of the public sector, U.S. investments in global development are enabling innovators like PackH20 to take risks, bring their products to scale, and truly do well by doing good.”

“Innovations in Smart Power: Impact at Home & Abroad” is an initiative spotlighting American businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are working with the government to deliver innovative solutions to tackle some of the toughest global development problems.

As a “Smart Power Innovation,” PackH20 will be spotlighted with other innovations across the country and online as a model of how the public and private sectors have partnered to develop innovative solutions to global problems.

PackH20 is a non-profit social innovation enterprise created in collaboration with Greif, Inc. to help get water backpacks in the hands of people who struggle every day to bring water home. As the awareness and fundraising arm, they reinvest money into building partnerships with NGOs and foundations to help people living in water-stressed environments. Visit www.packh20.org

Greif, Inc. is a world leader in industrial packaging products and services. The company produces steel, plastic, fibre, flexible, corrugated, multiwall and reconditioned containers, intermediate bulk containers, containerboard and packaging accessories, and provides blending, filling, packaging and industrial packaging reconditioning services for a wide range of industries. Greif also manages timber properties in North America. The company is strategically positioned in more than 50 countries to serve global as well as regional customers. Additional information is on the company’s website at www.greif.com.

Impact Economics, Inc. is a company focused on social entrepreneurship and driven by a vision to deliver innovative products and build scalable business models that seamlessly provides sales, marketing and distribution solutions for partners in the value chain. As the Master Distributor for the Greif, PackH2O, Impact Economics has the responsibility of addressing the needs of the global community. Specifically, Impact Economics assists with sales, distribution, logistics and operational support in ensuring we are focused on meeting our partners’ requirements in their support of the PackH2O water backpack. Visit www.impacteco.com.

The United States Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world. Visit www.usglc.org.

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