INX International Ink Co. is a key supporter of CannedWater4Kids, a North American-based program with global reach designed to create awareness and fund projects to purify water for children in developing nations.
Greg Stromberg, INX International director of sales, national accounts-Metal Deco, is the driving force behind this initiative. He developed the idea for CannedWater4Kids after hearing a speaker at the 2008 Canmaker Summit talk about how developing nations seldom have packaging to keep food and drinks fresh. This contributes to disease and a claim by the World Health Organization that a child dies every eight seconds from drinking unsafe water. That was enough to motivate Stromberg, who founded the not-for-profit 501c3 CannedWater4Kids program and began to put his plan to work.
2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the first aluminum beverage cans, the most recycled container in North America, of which approximately 85 percent of the two-piece aluminum cans today are decorated with INX inks. This makes the CannedWater4Kids project even more of a natural fit for the world’s largest metal decorating ink maker.
“This program adds notable dimension to our corporate citizenship efforts,” said Rick Clendenning, INX International president and CEO. “It also exemplifies how individual, hands-on involvement can make a tangible difference, providing immediate as well as long-term assistance to people in need of something that most of us take for granted, every single day.”
The CannedWater4Kids concept is simple. The idea is to tap North America’s thirst for bottled water by offering fresh-tasting spring water in colorful cans. “Purchasers learn they are helping bring clean, safe water to children everywhere,” Stromberg said.
The sparkling spring water comes from a 300-year-old underground glacier via Cold Spring Brewery in Cold Spring, Minn., one of several key corporate partners. The cans are currently produced by Crown Packaging of LaCrosse, Wis. INX accounts for the festive and strong brilliant color graphics on each of the cans by utilizing the services of their facility in Charlotte, N.C., one of the world’s largest metal decorating ink manufacturing plant.
Available in 12 packs and 24 packs, purchases can be made on-line at www.cannedwater4kids.org, and visitors to the site can also donate directly.
Stromberg said he modeled the program after Newman’s Own, the incredibly successful for-charity project the late actor, Paul Newman, started many years ago, and which produces millions of dollars each year. Discussions are underway with several major retailers to sell CannedWater4Kids through outlets nationwide, and he hopes to garner additional involvement by partnering with colleges and universities as well as other corporate entities.
“In addition to major retailers, I can see corporations becoming involved, as well as school districts and park districts. Once the ball gets rolling, I’m sure we will gain more attention to this very worthwhile cause.”
Stromberg said the program is registered as a 501c3 charity in Wisconsin, and 95 cents of every dollar collected will go toward organizations and/or specific projects to help bring clean water to people in need. He and other organization executives such as Bob Truitt of Crown Packaging and Neil McCormick, a UN packaging consultant, have volunteered countless hours of their time and are beginning to see results for their efforts.
In just its first few months, CannedWater4Kids has contributed to a project to drill a community well in a developing nation under a program managed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Funds are also being used to buy packets that can be used to help purify water. Stromberg said the charity has donated to several other clean-water causes and is looking into further collaboration with organizations such as New York-based charity-water. Other programs include the Tap Project from UNICEF, a World Water Week effort in which restaurants ask patrons to donate a dollar or more for the water they normally are served for free.
“There is a tremendous global need for the quality of water we take for granted,” said Stromberg.