Beneficial Returns helps strengthen access to safe drinking water in Central America with a loan to EOS International
Thanks to a loan from Beneficial Returns, EOS International can now bring clean drinking water and improved public health outcomes to more communities in Nicaragua and Honduras. EOS International is a non-profit social enterprise that installs in-line water chlorinators to treat contamination in small-scale water systems. Additionally, EOS trains local leaders on water quality analysis, treatment, and monitoring so they can keep clean water flowing in their communities.
"Beneficial Returns provides loans to social enterprises that produce positive impact in communities by addressing major social or environmental problems with market-based solutions. EOS makes safe drinking water affordable and accessible to rural households in Nicaragua and Honduras. We expect our loan will help EOS grow and deliver even bigger results” said Ted Levinson, CEO/Founder of Beneficial Returns.
EOS' technology is used in rural community water tanks to combat pathogens with chlorination. EOS deploys "circuit riders" who travel the region by motorbike to train local communities on using, testing, maintaining, and repairing the installations. EOS also has advanced water quality labs supervised by dedicated staff for water analysis in Nicaragua and Honduras.
To date, EOS has reached 1,429 communities and more than 648,000 individuals with water purifying solutions. Because chlorination is so affordable and local citizens assume responsibility for managing and maintaining their water supply, EOS systems are permanent solutions for the communities where they operate. Independent studies have demonstrated that villages with EOS systems have better health outcomes. The average EOS customer pays just $1.83 per year for clean drinking water for their whole family.
“Access to this loan from Beneficial Returns comes at a critical time of growth and increased demand from rural communities. This capital will allow our team to purchase inventory in bulk to reduce costs and transfer these savings to our customers. We are fortunate for Beneficial Returns’ investment in our operations and excited for this next stage of growth,” said Wes Meier, Co-Founder & CEO of EOS International.
Globally, 785 million people suffer from lack of essential drinking-water services. In addition, while there are water sources in hard-to-reach communities, people often have no means of purification to ensure water is free from contaminants. The COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the need for safe drinking water, which can reduce illness and disease, particularly in children and the elderly.
With the loan from Beneficial Returns, EOS can now supply an additional 150 communities with chlorinators and chlorine tablets. The loan will be repaid from revenue generated from the sale of chlorine tablets.
Beneficial Returns has provided more than $2M in loans to social enterprises fighting poverty and protecting the environment in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Our investors, who participate via recoverable grants, are family foundations, donor-advised funds, and faith-based communities.
 World Health Organization, 2019
University Impact has added Beneficial Returns to its platform which invites donors to participate in the debt impact fund's investments. Beneficial Returns investments highlighted are Ilumexico and the Philippine arm of Ananas Anam.
University Impact is an impact investing firm that addresses the world’s social and environmental problems by making investments that focus on innovative, sustainable, and scalable impact solutions.
Ilumexico designs, assembles, and sells solar home systems to remote Mexican communities with no access to the grid. As of October 2020, they have electrified 2,130 of the most isolated communities of Mexico and provided electricity to more than 109,000 people.
Ananas Anam is the inventor of Piñatex, a leather alternative made from pineapple leaves that are normally discarded as agricultural waste. Ananas Anam aims to provide a more humane and sustainable option to leather while providing pineapple farmers - primarily in the Philippines - an additional source of income. With applications in clothing, automotive upholstery, and footwear, its customers include Hugo Boss, H&M, and Skoda.
Imagine getting paid for your trash.
That’s what hundreds of Filipino farmers are experiencing thanks to Ananas Anam. Not only are the farmers earning higher incomes, but their waste is reforming the notoriously dirty leather industry.
In the Philippines one-third of the country’s workforce is engaged in agriculture. According to the Philippines Statistics Authority, agriculture is one of nine basic sectors with the highest poverty incidence; one-third of farmers are with income levels below the official poverty threshold. On the island of Luzon pineapple farmers are earning more income by taking pineapple leaves and processing them into fibers that form the base material for Piñatex.
Piñatex is the brainchild of Dr. Carmen Hijosa. It’s a vegan alternative to leather and it’s captured the attention of crafters on Etsy as well as big brands such as Hugo Boss and H&M. The patented fabric’s main ingredient is the strong fibers that form the core of pineapple leaves.
Fashion is a wasteful and environmentally destructive industry, consuming vast amounts of water, energy, and toxic chemicals. Experts peg the economic cost to the planet at $180 billion per year. Piñatex is a natural, sustainably sourced and cruelty-free material that is better for people and better for the planet, too. Globally, the pineapple industry generates about 40,000 metric tons of pineapple leaves which are usually burned (contributing to air pollution) or left to rot (creating methane.)
Thanks to a loan from Beneficial Returns, Ananas Anam has now installed five decorticators in the province of Laguna – the heart of Luzon’s pineapple country. Decorticating is the process of extracting the cellulose fibers from the leaves and, with a little training, farmers can process tons of these fibers generating substantial additional income.
Social enterprises like Ananas Anam are at the forefront of using market forces to reduce poverty while simultaneously preserving our environment. Our loans help these enterprises grow and increase the scale of their impact.