Jim Shubat tells Sustainable Business Magazine about how SanEcoTec is trying to bring sustainable water treatment to North America and beyond.
Can you tell us a little about the history of SanEcoTec?
We started with a vision of better ways to treat water. Understanding how important water was to us as individuals and society as a whole, we felt that instead of the standard notion of water that won’t make you sick in the short term, we could treat water in a way that had clear and demonstrable long term benefits, and was suitable to put back into the environment. And that’s a giant leap from the status quo.
How has SanEcoTec changed during your time as Founder and President and now as CTO?
We’ve gone from a simple idea to advanced patents-pending processes. We have a better way of treating water in different applications. We’re currently in municipal drinking water treatment plants, and in homes, farms and industry; we’re repurposing water in high-occupancy buildings and in greenhouses; and we’re in the health sector too.
For example, the work done with the University of Ottawa is breakthrough. Before: a lot of water was being wasted; a lot of money was being spent. Now: 50 million litres of water are being reused; over a hundred thousand dollars in direct and indirect savings each year. uOttawa is pretty innovative when it comes to this stuff. It’s a blessing to be working with them.
The key is our unique know-how and the application of innovative technologies — such as hydrogen peroxide, which is naturally occurring in the everyday environment to solve the unique challenges found in different water uses and conditions.
We’re in a business sector that historically has approached water treatment with a dump and stir method of introducing chemicals. We offer something substantially different that is economically viable and pleasing to the environment.
How is SanEcoTec able to bring relief to water issues around the world?
We see global potential in what we do. But for now we’re concentrating on the challenges we face at home. With the way water is treated in North America, it often produces as many problems as it solves. The money that’s needed for crumbling water infrastructure or to support care for diseases that are caused by current water treatment methods is astonishing. It can’t continue. Not because I say so, but as a responsible society we can’t afford it!
SanEcoTec has a proven method to treat water that leaves water in better shape for health and environment. It’s less expensive and helps to keep our limited source supply of water more secure — not just in the “water business”, but for the whole wide world as we know it.
Look, water is more than just vital. It’s a metaphor for everything we value. It’s functional, nutritional, spiritual… think of anything you hold dear and true and it somehow comes back to water. If we can do something special with improving water — without doing harm in the process, we’ll have brought relief.
What are the benefits of SanEcoTec technologies for stakeholders and communities?
Healthy water. Cleaner pipes and tanks. Lower cost. Better source protection. Elimination of disease-causing by-products. Effective recycling, re-use and restore capabilities. Tastes great straight from the tap — so that means less bottled water. Reduced landfill. Cleaner air. Reduced energy costs. See what I mean? — there really is an extraordinary ripple effect.
How does SanEcoTec engage with customers and partners in North America and beyond?
We have a consumer-friendly brand called AVIVE™. Our slogan is Healthy Water. Better Life. And were very focused on building a profile among the end-users. It’s a form of attraction vs. promotion. When it comes to the business of selling AVIVE™ to business partners we rely on strategic partnerships with those who have long standing involvement and credibility in a given market segment. We convince them of the business benefits and they in turn convince others. And then the final piece is proof points. For a small company we have a very large R&D budget. It’s important for us to be credible with regulators and legislators and that the claims we make can be supported with outstanding science. We have a half dozen different Pilots underway right now and three different post-secondary institutions working on establishing credible efficacy claims. Of course my personal favourite is a person in a town with AVIVE™ who said, “My water tastes better, looks better, even my coffee tastes like it should.”Any time I tell someone that line I know that I’ll have their interest to listen to our story.
How are you trying to promote the role of water in good health?
I’m not a doctor. I can only go by what experts say, and from places like the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the Institute of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Centre for Disease Control — the list goes on and on — and they’re saying if you drink more water you will enjoy better health. These same organizations also report an alarming number — more than half — of North Americans are chronically dehydrated. OK… could it be people don’t want to drink enough water because it smells or tastes yucky or is too expensive coming out of a designer bottle? I don’t know. What I do know is that if it tastes great, costs less, does more good than harm, you’re likely going to drink more. And that’s a good thing. I think it’s a pretty simple concept.
What achievements are you most proud of?
Where we are. Where we’re going. What will be. In short: “the next”
How do you plan to grow and improve in the future?
Well, we’ve got business processes that will help us be more efficient and scale rapidly.
We’ve always got our eye on the different ways we can finance growth. And we have a good team of people who are smart and driven to succeed. But our future will be defined by our passion. We’re pretty tough on ourselves. We’re constantly making small improvements to our AVIVE™ Water Treatment Solution, resulting in ongoing improved return on investment. And I don’t see that ever changing. We’ll always be following a path of tinkering with the finer points of water. We have experts, who have spent 30 years in chemistry, biology and toxicology of water, and they’ll tell you they’ve only scratched the surface of what they always call “water: this beautiful product”. We owe it to ourselves and to them to always be focused on healthier water.
What does sustainability mean to SanEcoTec?
In the recent past, sustainability was almost exclusively used in relation to the energy sector: wind, water, solar; our “energy footprint”. We think water treatment also has to meet the sustainability test… everyone should fully understand their “water footprint” as well. We see sustainability as integral to who we are as people and what we do as an organization. We see that commitment as one of our core values. We’re working on developing metrics that show how SanEcoTec is improving the fiscal and environmental health of the planet on a minute-to-minute basis. Years ago there was a saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”. We believe this for sustainability too, and hope soon our reporting on sustainability scores will be as important to evaluating our business as our Balance Sheet.
PDF: ISSUU Article