eWater Systems disrupting the way we think about hygiene
eWater Systems is shifting the over consumption of hazardous chemicals and single use plastics choking our planet by disrupting the old method of production and bringing manufacturing 'in house'. We speak with Dawn O'Neil, Director of eWater Systems to learn just how they are disrupting the way we think about hygiene in our built environment and how a recent sleuth of accolades awarded to them are redefining their role as industry leaders.
Why is eWater Systems a force for good?
eWater Systems (truly) disrupts the way we think about hygiene in our built environment by installing innovative electrolysed water systems. In a world where chemical regulations and market demands for safer chemicals are on the rise eWater Systems provides a unique solution and sets a new standard in this often-overlooked area of genuine sustainability.
eWater Systems is a force for good whilst addressing the daily challenges of maintaining the highest standards of environmental health and hygiene.
eWater Systems was recently recognised as Best for the Environment. What does this recognition mean for the business and what message does this relay to your stakeholders?
As a registered B Corp we have made it our mission to Reduce our Chemical Footprint globally, thus changing the way we live our lives. Being recognised by B Corporation on its ‘Best for the Environment’ list and more recently winning two of Australia’s leading Sustainability Awards including the Victorian Premier's Recognition Award, is enormously encouraging as we embark on this bold mission.
A measure of our success is about commercial acceptance and uptake. We are now installed in almost 400 leading Australian businesses and this list is growing daily. Many of these are iconic sites such as Melbourne Cricket ground, the International Convention Centre in Sydney, prestigious restaurants such as Aria – Solitel Group, Rockpool Group and the new Stokehouse restaurant in Melbourne, plus many hospitals such Royal Children’s, Victorian Cancer Care Centre and even our Australian Parliament House in Canberra.
These accolades give assurance to our existing client base plus confidence to new businesses especially those pursuing ‘farm to plate’ or organics and wanting to reduce chemical and carbon footprint that eWater is a smart choice. Confidence that purchasing an eWater System is a sustainable and a cost-effective business decision, confidence that eWater Systems has been rigorously and independently assessed by the B Corporation, the Victorian State government and Sustainability Victoria and confidence that they are in good company!
As a leader in your industry, how do you envision eWater Systems will continue to lead the charge in defining what success in business means?
At eWater Systems we are passionate about shifting the way the world preserves its future and uses its scarce and precious resources. This is what drives us. Success will be in part measured by our ability to lead a movement for change away from the overuse of toxic, carbon heavy, packaged chemicals as well as being a profitable, sustainable company. eWater Systems will continue to introduce products that provide business and consumers with better, safer options that Reduce our global Chemical Footprint.
You have led not for profit, community and public-sector boards for over 20 years, and now a for profit business. What have been some of your key takeaways from this transition?
It’s a fact of history that most of our biggest social challenges have been solved through enterprise – think flush toilets and sanitation, vaccines or plumbing clean water into homes. Businesses have always had the opportunity to be a force for good because of access to capital, ability to trade, scale and innovate quickly in response to customer demands. Social sector organisations have traditionally been limited in their ability to scale because of dependence on philanthropy or capped funding models.
Whilst I remain passionate about the importance of the social sector and its unique role in society I began my career in business and have always maintained a perspective around the potential for business to do good.
In so many ways the success of a ‘for profit’ or ‘for purpose’ organisation is the same, i.e. to have a positive impact in society either economically, socially or environmentally. Positive change is vital for both sectors and must be measurable. The shift in recent years of more ‘for profit’ businesses measuring their impact in terms of social and environmental factors has been profound – as has the shift in many ‘for purpose’ organisations embracing an enterprise model. This transformation in the way we organise work and society is one of the most exciting professional changes in Australia and one I am proud to be a small part of through eWater Systems.
'Be the change you want to see in the world' - Mahatma Gandhi
What are your own lived experiences of the values in your work and your everyday?
I have always been motivated by a higher purpose than making profit alone so eWater Systems as a registered B Corp is a perfect fit.
This is a core value of the founder of eWater Systems, Phil Gregory, who has often been heard to say, “Doing good things and making good money are not mutually exclusive.” Phil has instilled a set of values into the company that align with my own around the importance of people, being true to what makes your heart beat and honesty which often plays out as being fearless in the face of obstacles. Honesty is also about measuring results and being transparent. Going through the B Corporation Assessment process is all about honesty.
Taking care of people, especially those who are vulnerable in our society is another immutable value. eWater Systems focus on reducing the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals for workers, many of whom are low paid, plus reducing the impact of our environment overall has been consistent with these values. My experience working in mental health through Lifeline and then beyondblue taught me that our environment has a significant impact on our wellbeing. Anything we can do to improve our environment in today’s increasingly polluted world is vital for our physical and mental health.
I often quote the well-known saying “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” and it’s been my experience in life that there are always things about society that need to change… for the better. Often this is due to the unintended consequences of what was originally a good idea. Packaged chemicals were originally convenient, safe, innovative and seemed benign.
Massive demand and production has resulted in an avalanche of single use plastics and a poisonous cocktail of chemicals seeping into every part of our lives. The job of turning this around will be Sisyphean. It will require all of us to take action towards creating a cleaner, safer more sustainable future and eWater Systems is leading this effort and I am proud to be a part of this venture started by Phil Gregory almost 10 years ago.