The run on toilet paper at the lockdown in March was the moment for social enterprise The Good Roll for quick action on the webshop and social media.With their 'feel good' paper they combat deforestation. They build toilets in Africa. And in 2021 they want to produce toilet paper in Ghana themselves.
The Good Roll Melle, Sander and Faisal Achmed, team captain in Ghana, roll out their plans.
Sander de Klerk and Melle Schellekens, once owners of restaurants and nightclubs, are the founders of The Good Roll. De Klerk: “We are trying to make the world a better place, with 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper that we purchase in Germany. Packaging in colorful wrappers is done in sheltered workshops, here at Weesp.
We spend 50% of our net profit on the construction of toilets (latrines), together with the Simavi foundation. After Uganda and Tanzania, now also in Ghana. What has the corona crisis done to your business so far?
“Our large business-to-business market has completely collapsed. Restaurants and gyms closed. Then there was the hamster rage, from March 9 to April 1. We responded to that immediately.
We have become much more active on the webshop and social media, towards consumers. In addition to the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, we have also included the United Kingdom. Offered a budget line, thought up fun promotions. No prices increased. It was a good move. Since the lockdown, the turnover of our webshop has increased by 50%.
That makes up for the loss in the other sectors a bit. The hoarding is over. "How are you doing now?
"It has calmed down. But our brand has grown rapidly. Due to the corona crisis, people seem to think more about sustainability. That is good for our longer term.
We are going to deliver to a large German supermarket and we have broadened our webshop to Denmark, Sweden and Finland."Are you going to build your own factory in Ghana?
"Yes, that project was already running. Recycled paper is becoming scarcer, so more expensive.
We looked for another raw material. An adviser at RVO gave us the idea to use a fiber-rich by-product from agriculture. We have had the possibilities of our own factory in Ghana investigated, with the help of DGGF Technical Assistance. Our raw material, which is still seen as waste, will become an additional source of income for the farmers. The port is perfectly located for sailing to markets in Europe and the US.
RVO has given us excellent coaching. They are very involved, really great. If the talks with RVO about a DGGF start-up financing are concluded positively, the first roll can roll out of the factory in early 2021. Location and team are ready. The machine comes from China."Are you not hindered by corona measures?
"There was a lockdown in Ghana for 2 weeks. Yet we cannot go there for the time being. The borders are closed to foreigners. We keep in touch with our local team in Ghana by phone, Skype and Zoom. The team works as healthily and safely as possible, for example by using mouth masks and soap. As far as production and transport are concerned, that just continues. Because toilet paper is a basic necessity of life. " Social impact, even with bulk product