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15 November 2012

The business of charity, how Eden Springs makes charitable giving work

When it comes to CSR and charitable donations, businesses have been 'ticking the box' for years. However, recent reports into charity transparency, including how much third sector organizations spend on administration and media, has put a strain on the corporate/charity relationship, with more companies taking a closer look at how their donations are used. For Eden Springs, the leading workplace drinks provider, working with a charity that is making a real difference on the ground and shares its own values, is at the heart of its strategy. Previously, Eden had signed with larger, mainstream charities, but with no visibility of how they worked and with issues around donations being used for high administration costs, the company was unable to see or feel it was making a real difference to the cause. In 2010 the company, which delivers water and coffee services to businesses across 15 European markets, set about looking for a smaller organization that it could work closely with and ensure that by working as a partnership, the money would be used where it was most needed, on the ground. The charity chosen was People help People - One World. Based in Idstein, Germany, the charity is run by volunteers working to improve the living and development opportunities for people in the Uru district of Kilamanjaro, Tanzania. Providing clean drinking water is at the forefront of its campaign and Eden Springs has committed to donating at least $30,000 each year to support the provision of new drinking water facilities for the village. This eliminates the six kilometre hike that villagers were previously forced to make to access safe drinking water. By delivering these facilities, Eden has not only been able to improve the health of villagers, but also the prospects of young people living in the village who would usually have to forfeit a secondary school education as collecting clean water for their families was more of a necessity.

Chief executive of Eden Springs, Rannan Zilberman, explains: "When identifying a charity to work with, it's vital that businesses measure the effectiveness of their donations so that they can deliver true CSR and not just simply tick a box. For us, this was important. We wanted to identify an organisation that we could work closely with and one that would ensure the best decisions on where to spend money were made.

"The vision of People help People - One World, is to improve living conditions and education opportunities through the provision of safe drinking water and as a hydration company, this was obviously close to our hearts. But the transparency and effective work of the charity means that as a company, we're able to make a direct impact on the lives of villagers."

Eden Springs has continued to actively support the development of new drinking facilities and where geophysical problems have on occasions made drilling for water difficult and time consuming, the company has been able to divert the money to support the provision of health and wellbeing education for the villagers.

Zilberman continues: "This is a perfect example of why, as a business, you need to work closely with partner so that together you can identify where your donations can return the very best results at every turn. We've developed a strong relationship and have maintained contact with People help People - One World, which has enabled us to quickly switch targeted funding to another area when it's not effective elsewhere, ensuring we're making a real difference at every opportunity." Eden Springs believes that offering employees the same level of transparency when it comes to charitable donations is key to making the partnership work.

Zilberman concludes: "It's important that the whole team feels they are a part of positive change and are kept updated on progress and next steps. "We're proud to be a part of People help People - One World, not at an organisational level, but as real people working together to enhance the lives of others."

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Notes to Editors

About Eden Springs Group Eden Springs is Europe's leading provider of drinking water solutions for the workplace, offering a broad range of bottle-fed water coolers, plumbed-in water coolers and PET bottles. The company established its European presence in 1997 and, in less than eight years, became the leading brand for water coolers, with the widest geographical coverage in Europe’s water cooler industry. With a network of branches and water sources across 15 countries, Eden Springs bottles and distributes more than 368 million litres of water annually and services more than 600,000 clients. Headquartered in Switzerland, Eden Springs has 2,300 employees. www.edensprings.com

Facts and Figures about Eden Springs Group
Turnover: 250 million euros More than 900 service vehicles
27 million 5G bottles sold annually 600,000 customers
Presence in 15 countries 2,300 employees
26 sources of mineral water 120 branches

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