Sustainability chat with Petra Wadström, CEO of Solvatten
In our Sustainability Chat series, we speak with leaders and dreamers in the world of sustainability – picking their brains on what drives them, their experiences working in the field, plus all the best tricks of the trade.
This time we had the pleasure of meeting Petra Wadström, CEO and Founder at Solvatten. Solvatten as an organization is a social enterprise based in Sweden and has one mission: To provide people living in developing countries with safe and hot water in a portable, environmentally-friendly way. Petra has succeeded in designing a simple, but a highly effective, system that is now improving the lives of many people in the developing world. This water treatment and heating system is designed as a 10-liter jerry can. It’s a portable container that opens out into two halves, like a book.
You seem to have a very problem-solving mindset. How has this mindset helped you with your inventions?
- For me it’s about will, knowledge, curiosity and perseverance, but it is not enough if you don’t have funding. You also have to prioritize the time required to develop new solutions to problems that engage.
Today Solvatten is used in over 20 countries reaching 90,000 families. What do you think it will take for Solvatten to grow and how has the industry changed since you started?
- Insight from decision-makers is required; that we all live on the same planet and that we must act. That we can act now by investing in human climate projects and at the same time reducing world poverty.
The people who use Solvatten appreciate the solution as much today as when it was introduced, but the general awareness has finally started to wake up. The sun's enormous energy potential, the importance of clean and warm water, that the forest is allowed to grow without burning up, that people can maintain their health, that children can go to school and that people can get out of poverty. This is something that Solvatten enables and our corporate customers now understand and engage in, but there are many more to tell and inform.
If you were to draft a global regulation for the United Nations on sustainable development and/or social investment, what would be your most important focus point to change?
- If everyone had access to running safe and hot water at home and well functioning toilette and waste systems, that would be a giant step for mankind. Better start with these basic needs before steps to the moon.
You have created a revolutionary way to provide clean water to under-served communities worldwide. To whom is Solvatten most important and what is your key focus going forward?
- We work in many poor parts of the world where the infrastructure is not developed, where people live with unclean water, where firewood is used for heat and cooking and where the sun shines brightly all year round.
Our key focus is Solvatten as an enabler. Solvatten is one of the best human projects to actually reduce a huge amount of carbon emission by not burning wood and at the same time benefit the climate at scale.
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