Australian B Corp brings eco-friendly hygiene products to Expo West to expand the company’s ecological and social impact.

Melaina Juntti

March 15, 2024

6 Min Read
Who Gives A Crap toilet paper

Editor's note: This story was written before the 2024 NEXTY Awards were presented. Who Gives a Crap won the Best People-Forward Product Award for its recycled toilet paper.

Danny Alexander, Simon Griffiths and Jehan Ratnatunga love a good toilet joke. But to them, the fact that some 2 billion people—about 40% of the world’s population—lack access to a toilet is no laughing matter. Diseases caused by poor sanitation and water quality kill roughly 289,000 children under age 5 each year, which equates to one child every two minutes.

When the Australian social entrepreneurs first heard these dire statistics, they were appalled—and vowed to do something to arrest this trend. So in July 2012, Alexander, Griffiths and Ratnatunga co-founded the mission-based business Who Gives A Crap to advance sanitation equity while also doing right by the planet.

The Certified B Corporation sells eco-friendly toilet paper and other hygiene products, donating half of its profits to impact partners that build sustainable, scalable sanitation solutions in communities worldwide.

Who Gives A Crap has grown exponentially in 12 years, expanding distribution to the U.S. and recently breaking into retail stateside. After making its Natural Products Expo West debut in 2023, the company returns to Anaheim for this year’s installment, hoping to forge new connections and retail partnerships.

We caught up with Alexander, chief of product and purpose, to learn more about this innovative business driven by a dual social and environmental mission. 

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Why do you guys, well, give a crap about building toilets across the globe?

Danny Alexander: Many people take access to clean water and sanitation as a given. I didn’t think much about toilets for the first 25 years or so of my life. They were always there when I needed them, and I never considered what life would be like without them. 

The unfortunate reality, though, is that billions of people don’t have access to a toilet—or any safe and hygienic way of relieving themselves. Waste ends up in local waterways—the same place people collect water for drinking, cleaning and bathing—and this contaminated water leads to over 1 million deaths per year, largely among children. 

But this is an entirely preventable challenge. We know how to capture and remove waste from communities, but we need the collective will and resources to make it happen. That’s why we’ve committed to donating 50% of our profits to help solve this issue, and it’s what keeps our team motivated every single day.

Was the 100% Recycled Toilet Paper your first product? When did you add others? 

DA: Yep! We started the business with both a social mission and an environmental mission. Every single day over 1 million trees are cut down to produce traditional toilet paper—just to be flushed down the toilet. We set out to make the best quality toilet paper out of alternative fibers, starting with 100% recycled paper and then bamboo a few years later. We added kitchen towels and facial tissues about five years ago, and we launched a reusable cleaning cloth called the Dream Cloth in 2020.

In 2022 we launched our sister brand, Good Time, offering a 100% plastic- and cruelty-free body and hair care product range. Just like a real sister, Good Time shares the same DNA, donating 50% to nonprofits with the mission to help everyone in the world have access to clean water and a toilet within their lifetime. 

What have been some major growth milestones since starting the company? 

DA: We launched the business in Australia in 2012 via a viral Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and delivered our first product in March 2013, selling out within the first five days, which led to our first donation. We’ve [kept] growing ever since, launching paper towels, tissues and our first limited-edition toilet paper in 2015, and into new markets like the U.S. and U.K. in 2016, the same year we got our first B Corp certification. 

We bootstrapped the business until 2021, when we first raised capital, at which point we were well over 100 employees. It was hard, but I’m proud that we were able to grow in such a disciplined manner and protect our impact from outside influence. 

In the last two years, we’ve launched Good Time and kicked off global brand campaigns. We’ve also invested in renewable energy initiatives like our first electric vehicle fleet and solar panels that spell “CRAP” on one of our warehouses.

What are some notable impact milestones? 

DA: So many, it’s hard to choose. I’m most proud that we’ve now raised over $8.7 million (USD) for charity. That would’ve been impossible to imagine when we first started, but it’s a reality and growing more every year!

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Does Who Gives A Crap sell only direct-to-consumer? Are you looking to break into retail? 

DA: We were almost exclusively direct-to-consumer until very recently, but this past year we’ve worked hard to expand our distribution. We’re now in most grocery stores in Australia and on a growing number of shelves in the U.K. We’ve just this month launched in Whole Foods here in the U.S. We’re excited to be reaching more customers where they shop every day, and we hope to expand even further in the near future.

What did you make of your first Expo West experience?

DA: 2022 was our first time attending, and it was a huge success. We first met Whole Foods at Expo West, which led to the really amazing partnership that we’ve just launched. Expo West was a real matchmaker, you could say. 

What do you hope to accomplish at this year’s show?

DA: As I’m sure is true with many exhibitors, we’re excited to meet and build meaningful relationships with additional retail partners. We want to make our products more accessible to more people to amplify our social and environmental impact. It’s also a great opportunity for our team to get inspired by what else is happening in the market. There are so many inspiring brands doing really meaningful things!

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Congrats on being named a NEXTY Award finalist! What would winning mean to you?

DA: We’re incredibly excited to be one of the finalists in the People Forward Product category, alongside some other incredible purpose-driven brands. This award would mean a lot to us, at it would help us reach even more people—and the more people we reach, the closer we’ll get to our goal of helping give everyone in the world access to clean water and sanitation. Expo West plays a unique role in our U.S. expansion, as this is where we kicked off our retail journey in the U.S. last year, so we’d be delighted to win this in our second year!

Anything else we should know about your company?

DA: Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill? To get to the bottom. Get it?

Who Gives A Crap is exhibiting at Booth #2932 at Natural Products Expo West.

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About the Author(s)

Melaina Juntti

Melaina Juntti is a longtime freelance journalist, copy editor and marketing professional. With nearly two decades of experience in the natural products industry, she is a frequent contributor to Nutrition Business Journal, Natural Foods Merchandiser and NewHope.com. Melaina is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and is passionate about hiking, camping, fishing and live music. 

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