Procter & Gamble PuR: Purifier of WaterTM (B): A Second Chance

Published 01 Oct 2006
Reference 5394
Region Global
Summary

P&G's PuR: Purifier of Water, a household water treatment sold in small sachets, was developed by P&G, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and targeted 'bottom of the pyramid' (BOP) households, where water treatment facilities are often lacking. The product was a technological and public health success, but a commercial market failure (Case A). Internal stakeholders, however, believed in the effort. They re-positioned the initiative as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) venture, and found support within P&G's corporate organization, where it ultimately became a centerpiece of P&G's global CSR portfolio (Case B). The case chronicles the journey from product development for the commercial market, to CSR-supported BOP partnerships with the non-profit sector. A related case is available, exploring P&G's social marketing partnership with the global NGO, Population Services International (PSI): 'Procter & Gamble and Population Services International (PSI): Social Marketing for Safe Water'.

Teaching objectives

This case offers a rich setting in which to explore the management of CSR initiatives. It illustrates the challenges and opportunities that characterize partnerships between business sector and public sector actors in the context of a product development effort targeted at BOP markets. Unlike many BOP cases, however, it is not all sunshine and roses, as the company fails to meet its initial goals, in the face of a number of unexpected challenges. The case presents the ethical dilemma of a company's production of public health goods, which are not market sustainable. It discusses the aspirations that ultimately salvaged the initiative and the market model adjustments made to keep the product alive.

Keywords
  • NGO
  • Water Sector
  • Non profit
  • PuR
  • Social Marketing
  • Bottom of the pyramid (BOP)
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP)
  • Corporate Social responsibility (CSR)
  • Procter & Gamble (P&G)