Interview with Kaoru Takahashi, Executive Director of WaterAid Japan

December 12, 2022

Based on the “Four Promises”, the new sustainable policy of Tiger Coporation, the “Tiger Custom Bottle” reflects the company’s desire to create products that are friendly to human rights, health and the environment. In support of this product concept and the philosophy of Tiger Vacuum Bottles, we have formed a partnership with WaterAid, an international NGO that aims for “a world where all people have access to clean water and sanitation.

On November 25, 2020, the Tiger Bottle website launched a donation program to which a portion of sales will be donated.
For the launch of this program, we interviewed Kaoru Takahashi, Executive Director of WaterAid Japan.

“Clean water” makes people
in developing countries happy.

Q.First of all, can you tell us briefly about WaterAid’s activities?

First of all, can you tell us briefly about WaterAid’s activities? Right now, one in ten people in the world, about 785 million people, do not have access to clean water near their homes. Girls and women have to spend long hours to fetch water. Girls are not able to go to school to fetch water, and women are not able to do any other work than fetching water.

If they do not have access to clean water, they are more likely to get sick, and if they get sick, they cannot go to school or work again. There are many issues in developing countries, such as poverty, disease, and education, but we believe that if we can solve the water problem, it will ripple out and change people’s lives. We believe that water is the basis of our activities, so we are focusing on water.

In cooperation with local partners, the main focus of our activities is to help developing countries provide access to clean water and toilets.

I have actually been to many countries and have seen many success stories of people in developing countries changing their lives by their own power, as their lives were completely transformed when clean water was delivered to their areas. I have seen many successful cases where people in developing countries have been able to change their lives on their own if water is delivered. With this in mind, we carry out our daily activities. (Click here for detailed activitie))

We can take difficult issues as
“our own” even if only a little.

Q.Now that you are working with Tiger Bottle, what was your first impression of the “Tiger Custom Bottle”?

Tiger’s four sustainable policies, such as reducing plastic waste and avoiding the use of conflict minerals, are very relevant to our daily lives.

However, we tend to think of these issues as being far away from us. I think this is a wonderful product that can make such a difficult issue a little more “personal”.

I believe that the “Tiger Custom Bottle”
is a great productthat can help individuals
to tackle international issues.

Q.What do WaterAid’s activities have in common with the “environment” and “human rights”? In terms of similarities, yes, access to safe drinking water was recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly 10 years ago. At WaterAid, we believe that the fact that there are people who do not have access to clean water is a human rights issue, so we believe that this is a common thread.

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of environmentally friendly products, but it is quite rare to see industrial products in the image of additive-free foods. In particular, it is difficult to even be aware of human rights issues. It is hard to realize that the products we use in our daily lives are related to human rights issues in the world.

I think that purchasing a Tiger Bottle can be an opportunity for people to learn about new issues, and it can also be an option for people who have always been aware of the issues but have been reluctant to take action on their own. As a consumer, I am impressed by the fact that a company like Tiger Vacuum Bottles, which already has many fans, is making this kind of product, and as an employee of an international aid organization, I am also encouraged.

“It is our duty to deliver products
of solid quality.” is the common philosophy
of WaterAid and Tiger Bottle.

Q.What else do you feel WaterAid and Tiger Bottles have in common?

What I felt that we have in common in a fundamental way is Tiger’s vision of “spreading happy gatherings around the world”. We are also aiming for “a world where all people have access to clean water and sanitation. I felt that we share the same goal of “improving the quality of life” by global standards.

The other thing is Tiger’s “commitment to quality. WaterAid also has a commitment to quality in each of its water support projects, so I can really relate to that.”

We offer something that
fundamentally improves the lives of people.

Q.What exactly is it that you sympathize with? Tiger Vacuum Bottles produces 8 million stainless steel bottles a year at its own factory. They manage and manufacture under their own strict standards, but I think they believe that it is their responsibility to deliver products of high quality.

As it relates to our activities, even if you build a water supply system, if you don’t maintain it, it will soon break down. In fact, in Africa, it is said that 30 to 50 percent of wells are left unattended and broken.

Therefore, in our water projects, we do not think that it is enough to just build water supply facilities, but we also focus on training people in developing countries in repair techniques so that they can manage the facilities in a sustainable manner, and on working with the local government to enable them to maintain and manage the water supply facilities by themselves.

I feel a sense of sympathy in the fact that we are not “just making things,” but we are offering something that will fundamentally improve the situation.

Q.Thank you very much. Could you tell us what you thought when you actually picked up the Tiger Bottle?

I thought it was simply cute (laughs). Also, it’s really amazing to think that the manufacturing process of making this product is done in-house. As a consumer, I was attracted by the fact that the manufacturer’s face is clearly visible.

“The ripple effect of water support”
can support a happy life.

Q.I think there are people who sympathize with WaterAid’s activities through this project and will purchase the bottles. Please give a message to the users of the Tiger Bottle. First of all, I would like to use the donation to WaterAid carefully. This is the most important message.

I think that most of the people who purchase our products are sympathetic to the idea of “water support. This will lead to income, nutritious food, better health,etc, and many other ripple effects, so your help will be a great support.

The fact that there are people from Japan who are supporting this project is a big help. I hope that this will be an opportunity to think about global issues.