To read our full report, click here!
Bits from the updated Report:
74% of x-runner users are immigrants from different regions of the Andes and the Peruvian jungle, who came to Lima in search of economic and social opportunities. A lower percentage is a second or third generation of former immigrants living in Lima. Clearly, the reality they encounter upon arrival is stressful and very different from the one they expected.
Peru has a socio-economic scale that divides the population according to incomes and living conditions in different levels ranging from A to E. All of x-runner’s customers belong to the lowest socio-economic scale: 87% belong to ‘D’ level and 13% to ‘E’ level. The average household size is 4+ people and the average family income is between US$ 490 and US$ 710 monthly.
94% of customers used latrines before acquiring the x-runner dry toilet, while the remaining 6% did not have any toilet facility at all.
Measuring the impact of x-runner has two components: satisfaction-surveys conducted with users and an indicator matrix created from the impact measurement systems GIIRS and IRIS.
The surveys revealed that 93% of customers think that the dry toilet has improved their quality of life. Also, 86% of the users are satisfied with their dry toilet and 82% say that they plan to keep it for a long time. In 48% of the households there was a member who initially did not like the toilet, however 64% of them changed their minds after 4 months.
Moreover, the vast majority are satisfied with the comfort, smell, the absence of insects, hygiene, and appearance of the toilet; and they find it much better compared to their previous options, which were latrines or buckets.
With the dry toilet, users can save 7% in cost annually compared to building and using a latrine. Furthermore, the health consequences that a latrine in poor conditions can cause outweigh any monetary costs. Another current option families have is to build a private sewer, but the cost is 10 times higher than a dry toilet.
As for the payments, x-runner has implemented an innovative collection system, which consists of using BCP Banking agents at local kiosks to collect the monthly fee. Thereby x-runner inserts users in the banking system. Customers’ regular payment has allowed x-runner to have a current monthly income of about S/. 6000 (approx. US$ 1955), which is essential for the company’s goal of reaching financial sustainability.
The satisfaction survey showed that 68% of customers are satisfied with the price of the toilet, and that 86% are satisfied with the payment process with the BCP banking agents.
According to the results from surveys and interviews, x-runner’s customers spend between US$ 7 and US$ 12 every time they suffer from EDA (Acute Diarrheal Diseases). In addition, these diseases cost 2 days of work productivity or 2 days of missed attendance at school. The results from the interviews show that after 4 months of using the x-runner toilet there is an average reduction of 12% of diarrheal events.
X-runner’s environmental objective is to use as little water as possible. The dry toilet consumes an average of 84 liters per year, which is very low compared with the 9,450 liters of a pit latrine and with a minimum of 31,104 liters that a WC flushes down the drain. In other words, the water consumed by a dry toilet is equivalent to 0.88% of a latrine and 0.27% of a WC per year. Furthermore, the least amount of water is used during the service operations. Water, which the enterprise uses during treatment or cleaning, is reused for irrigation of the compost piles in the treatment plant.
From August 2013 to September 2014, 31 tons of feces were registered as collected, which is an equivalent to 15.5 tons of compost. The amount of feces that enters weekly, increases with the growing number of customers. Many of the new customers signed up around August, at a time when more than 2 tons of feces were collected, equivalent to more than 1 ton of compost.
The collected feces have undergone a long sterilization and treatment process in order to meet the pathogenic and chemical standards set by Austria and Chile. Meeting these standards is key to guarantee a high quality of the compost.
In December, x-runner submitted compost to a parasitological and microbiological analysis lab, which confirmed a perfect concentration of fecal coliform according to the parameters set by Chile. These results demonstrate that the compost is suitable for sale and can generate additional revenue for the company. Thus, at present, x-runner is looking for potential gardening companies to buy the compost and to use it for the construction and maintenance of urban green zones and parks.
To date, x-runner has 15 employees, full and part-time, who hold positions in management, service operations, design, sales, marketing, billing, human resources, customer management, and treatment. X-runner takes all the necessary safety measures to ensure the health and safety of the workers. Likewise, it is also part of the corporate policy to work with constant feedback from the employees and encourage professional growth of each through training.
X-runner is based on a transparent philosophy and is working hard to continue formalizing solid policies and processes. Additionally, it sets a strong focus on the customer and has developed tools to maintain a continuous relationship and communication with them, including mechanisms to process their inquiries and complaints, and feedback processes to determine their level of satisfaction with the toilet and the collection service.
Since April 2013, x-runner has become the first Peruvian company to be certified as a B Corporation, which means that meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, as well as accountability and transparency. It participated in the Agora Partnerships Accelerator during the first half of 2013, and in the same year it received MBA practitioners from Kellogg School of Management. It was selected to participate in the Business Incubation Program of NESsT in Peru. It has also obtained funding from Grand Challenges Canada, Swiss Re Foundation and AVINA Foundation.
In 2014, x-runner’s CEO Isabel Medem was finalist in the prestigious “Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Award” winning a £10,000 grant. In June, through the MBA programme Emzingo, it received two American MBA students from the Instituto de Empresa (IE) in Madrid who worked on the x-runner strategic development plan and the financial model. In August of the same year, it was finalist in the Kunan Award ‘Inspiring Projects’ category.
In November, the Spanish edition of the magazine MIT Technology Review awarded Isabel Medem with the “Peruvian Social Innovator of the Year 2014” prize, chosen among the top 5 most innovative Peruvians under 35 years; and in January 2015, Forbes magazine included Isabel Medem in the list of the top 30 social entrepreneurs under 30 years old. From January to June 2015, x-runner is hosting students from the prestigious Stanford Extreme programme to collaborate on new and complimentary products for the service.
According to satisfaction surveys, 90% of users would recommend the dry toilet and 93% believe it has improved their quality of life. Additionally, customers associate the toilet with hygiene, practicality, comfort and pleasing appearance. These results demonstrate that x-runner is achieving its mission of providing dignified and well-working sanitation solutions to the urban and peripheral areas of Lima. The medium-term goal is to reach over 500 families until the end of 2015 in order to cover operational costs.
Between October and December the number of beneficiaries increased by 41%. Thus, x-runner is committed to maintaining a constant rate of growth to reach the objective to provide all settlement areas of Lima with a socially and environmentally responsible sanitation solution.