Who Gives A Crap, an Australian company, sells premium sustainable toilet paper. The company was founded with the goal of creating an environmentally-friendly toilet paper product that was both sustainable and high quality. It sells premium 100% bamboo toilet paper, 100% recycled toilet paper, forest-friendly tissues and paper towels, and reusable, biodegradable cloths, operating in more than 40 countries.
Who Gives A Crap has been growing quickly, doubling revenue year-over-year. The COVID-19 pandemic, which led consumers around the world to stockpile essential home goods, further accelerated the company’s growth. Demand grew by 1100 percent in the early months of the health crisis.
Social Responsibility Defined
We define social responsibility as a business’s obligation to maximize its positive impact and minimize its negative impact on society. Some believe the sole purpose of business should be to maximize profits, but others believe it pays to do good. Increasingly, consumers—particularly young consumers—are attracted to purpose-driven brands and are often willing to pay a premium for socially responsible products.
A Sustainable Supply Chain
One way to fight deforestation caused by the paper industry is to avoid paper products made using virgin pulp. Who Gives A Crap uses recycled paper, chopping and mixing it to create new paper, and alternative fibers such as bamboo. Bamboo is a type of grass, and it grows back faster than a tree, making it a much more sustainable solution.
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, transitioning the tissue product industry to recycled fibers is the best way to make tissue products sustainable. The council currently considers Who Gives A Crap to be the most sustainable option on the market. The company allows consumers to make a one-time purchase or subscribe to regular deliveries. Who Gives A Crap says it wants going green to be an easy decision.
Beyond using sustainable materials, Who Gives A Crap has made its supply chain more environmentally friendly by eliminating single-use plastic from its packaging, offsetting carbon emissions from shipping, reducing energy consumption and water use, and improving its production process. The toilet paper company is also considering how it can have more control over distribution and delivery.
Who Gives A Crap is a Certified B Corporation, meaning it meets high environmental and social standards, demonstrates transparency, and has committed to be accountable to all stakeholders. The voluntary third-party certification is rigorous, attracting purpose-driven companies.
For Who Gives A Crap, the company’s goals go beyond making a profit from premium toilet paper. The company wants to address issues related to water sanitization and toilet access, too. Half of the company’s profits are donated to charities that provide clean water to communities around the world. The company partners with organizations that have a proven track record with local expertise such as Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), a grassroots organization in Kenya. Who Gives A Crap has donated more than $10,800,000 AUD (about $8 million USD) to date.
The company has attracted a lot of interest from investors, but Who Gives A Crap is committed to only accepting funds from like-minded investors. Who Gives A Crap has its eyes on international growth with plans to expand into new countries, introduce new products, scale sustainability initiatives, and find more ways to make a difference.
In the Classroom
This article can be used to discuss social responsibility (Chapter 2: Business Ethics and Social Responsibility).
What is social responsibility?
Describe Who Gives A Crap’s social responsibility efforts.
What is a B Corporation? Why do you think a company would voluntarily apply for this certification?
This article was developed with the support of Kelsey Reddick for and under the direction of O.C. Ferrell and Linda Ferrell.
Alexandra Cain, "The World’s Favourite Toilet Paper Brand Is Ready To Clean Up," The Sydney Morning Herald, April 21, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/technology/the-world-s-favourite-toilet-paper-brand-is-ready-to-clean-up-20220419-p5aeix.html
Kai Burkhard, "Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper Review: Our Favorite Recycled Toilet Paper," CNN, April 21, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/reviews/who-gives-a-crap
Sally Ho, "Who Gives A Crap? Oatly Investor Backs Plastic-Free Toilet Paper Startup in $30M Series A," Green Queen, September 24, 2021, https://www.greenqueen.com.hk/who-gives-a-crap-series-a/