Netherlands | Social entrepreneurship

The Good Roll: changing the world through toilet paper

21 June 2021 10:00

Many companies are doing something to make the world a bit better. But social enterprise The Good Roll has a positive impact literally around the world. Their sustainable toilet paper is packaged in the Netherlands by people who have trouble finding paid employment. The brightly colored rolls are sold in several countries, and part of the profit goes to building The Good Roll clean toilets in countries like Ghana.

The Good Roll

“Our mission is literally: ‘Making the world less shitty’”

The first thing you notice about The Good Roll are the cheerful wrappers with humorous text. “Our mission statement is literally: ‘Making the world less shitty’, says founder Melle Schellekens. “Our rolls look cool, and they catch people’s attention. Then when you take a second look, you realize that we do much more than just make pretty wrappers. That makes the first step towards sustainability a lot easier for people to take.”

Some people are just unlucky

Making the world less shitty starts right here in the Netherlands. Melle: “Most of the wrapping and packaging of our products is done by people who have trouble finding paid employment. Some have physical disabilities, and others are just unlucky. We offer them guidance or a customized workplace. One of our staff is a truck driver who didn’t dare to get behind the wheel anymore. So we mentor him to help him regain his self-confidence. We also cooperate with De Regenboog Group to offer homeless people work and social contacts. In the process, we can now offer employment to more than 50 people.”

“The new entrepreneurship: sustainable, social, and profitable.”

Full circle

“Our toilet paper is made of 100% recycled materials, and it meets the strictest environmental standards, including Der Blaue Engel and the EU Eco Label”, Melle adds. “Right now, we sell it in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK, and we plan on adding more countries soon. We also donate 50% of our profit to organizations that support the construction of clean sanitary facilities in Africa.”

“That results in our win-win-win concept: a socially responsible, 100% tree-friendly toilet roll that finances the construction of more safe and clean toilets. We’re also working on setting up a factory in Ghana to produce toilet paper from bamboo pulp. Our goal is to keep our full circle as sustainable as possible.”

Lease and financing via Rabo

Rabobank was actively involved in the founding and scale-up of The Good Roll. “Rabobank arranged for the lease of our first machines, and Rabo Foundation financed our scale-up activities”. Melle explains. Rabo Foundation also offered training and made contacts with other lenders, like DOEN Foundation. Rabo Foundation’s Nanouk Grootendorst: ‘The Good Roll is an impact-first enterprise. We believe that the new entrepreneurship is sustainable, social, and profitable. And we’re eager to contribute to making that happen.”

Make the world a better place by wiping with The Good Roll. Their sustainable toilet paper is packaged by people who have trouble finding paid employment. And part of the profits go to the construction of toilets in developing countries.