Today, entrepreneurs are everywhere – looking increasingly to create not only financial but social gain.

And there’s no better place to start than with water and sanitation. One in three people worldwide lack access to a safe, clean toilet. Nearly one billion people live in informal settlements in urban areas without access to a sewered toilet. The lack of proper sanitation is a major public health risk.

But it’s also a business opportunity.

The global demand for water and sanitation is worth $50 billion (Freedonia 2013) and close to $260 billion is lost annually worldwide to the effects of poor sanitation and unsafe water (Hutton 2012).

On World Toilet Day this year, we’re calling on entrepreneurs worldwide to join us in changing to sanitation, on the private sector to address the sanitation challenge.

The world has pledged to provide improved sanitation to all by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals. But, having missed the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation by 700 million people, we urgently need to achieve safe sanitation at scale.

We need the private sector to innovate, be creative, take risks and meet the needs of those low-income urban consumers who so need change.

At WSUP, we’ve been working in this area for several years, testing approaches and involving the private sector in our work to find solutions that can be applied across cities and countries and drive real change.

In Bangladesh, our business SWEEP is the first financially viable septic tank emptying service in the country; now serving 85,000 people, the possibilities for scale up are exciting.

In Zambia, our work on faecal sludge management in Lusaka is helping tens of thousands of people to access the safe sanitation they need.

This World Toilet Day, our country teams will be participating in national and community-level events to promote safe sanitation and raise awareness. We’re attending the Toilet Board Coalition conference in Mumbai with our Ghanaian sanitation business, Clean Team, and talking to other innovators about how to face the sanitation challenge.