Partnership of METRO Water Initiative and One Drop Foundation benefits 500,000 people in Northern India

22 March 2021

Together with 15 global suppliers the METRO Water Initiative in close collaboration with the One Drop Foundation is aiming at providing sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene to 500,000 people in Northern India.

The One Drop Foundation supports different projects in Northern India
  • 500,000 people in the northern Indian state of Bihar will receive sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services, thanks to the projects supported by METRO in the region
  • 18 METRO countries and 15 suppliers support this year’s METRO Water Initiative in the campaign anchored around the UN World Water Day on 22 March
  • A minimum of €1.2 million will be collected for this purpose through the METRO Water Initiative. These funds will be matched by the One Drop Foundation.
  • In addition to access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services, the projects focus on the promotion of healthy behaviours through One Drop’s Social Art for Behaviour Change™ approach

Celebrating UN World Water Day, METRO again partners up with 15 global suppliers to launch the METRO Water Initiative for its customers in 18 countries and enters the 3rd year of its close collaboration with the One Drop Foundation. The shared project kicked off in 2019 in the north-eastern Indian state of Bihar and aimed at providing sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene to 500,000 people. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced some of the local projects to adapt, it has also highlighted once again, that access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is fundamental to protecting the health and safety of populations and diminishing the transmission of viruses. That’s why, alongside its partners, the One Drop Foundation promotes behavior change through social art initiatives that take into consideration local, cultural and artistic references, resulting in healthier practices around water, sanitation and hygiene. Furthermore, communities and individuals are empowered and trained to manage the water and sanitation facilities in a sustainable way.

3 years ago the METRO Water Initiative kicked off its cooperation with the international One Drop Foundation which will ultimately ensure sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene to three districts in the federal Indian state of Bihar: Sheohar, Madhubani and Gaya.The project was made possible via a globally coordinated campaign in up to 22 countries (18 in the year 2021) jointly with selected METRO global suppliers. During the two-week campaign period around World Water Day, awareness of the issue of access to safe water with each participating supplier contributing to the One Drop Foundation is raised. After the third year of collaboration will close, more than €1.2 million will have been raised. With the One Drop Foundation matching this €1.2 million amount, and raising further investment with their local implementing partners, over €5.3 million will have been raised in total, making an impact on the lives of 500,000 people. Although one of the projects in India is delayed due to COVID, targets will be reached.

“The pandemic has brought changes to all our lives, but it also showed again, that the global health system is only as strong as its weakest link,” says Andrea Euenheim, CHRO of METRO AG, responsible for Sustainability in the Board. “That’s why we are more than happy to see, that by partnering up with our suppliers and the One Drop Foundation, we are able to support, where help is really needed. Together with One Drop, our suppliers and our customers, we will continue turning water into action to create a change in the lives of people.”

Over the course of 2019 and 2020, the projects in India already reached over 156,000 people. 279 water points were installed and safe drinking water and sanitation in 271 schools secured. Numerous composts pits and 2000 household latrines were installed to give people access to safe sanitation and environments. During the past year, 5 additional handwashing stations were installed in public health centres and 500 hygiene kits were distributed to community workers, that serve a catchment area of over 1 million people in the districts of Gaya and Madhubani, mitigating the spread of COVID-19. 25 new farmer’s clubs were formed in 2020, increasing household incomes and sensitizing local farmers through training in water-saving techniques and waste management, and supported through entrepreneurial development. Together with local artists, multi-disciplinary shows, street-plays and film screenings were performed to engage the local population in the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene and promote the adoption of healthy behaviors.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the One Drop Foundation and their executing partners were quick to respond: by working closely with their partners, they were able to develop a strategy to support local governments and communities so the latter could protect themselves against the spread of the virus. Under these new circumstances, resilience and innovation were key to the project teams and the communities they serve. “We are so appreciative and thankful of this partnership with METRO AG and its global suppliers. This contribution to support vulnerable communities and to ensure they have access to safe water is so valuable. For us, this true collaboration is proof-positive that cross-sectoral partnerships can encourage large-scale support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and transform the lives of hundreds of thousands,” says Jean-Louis Dufresne, CEO at the One Drop Foundation. “By promoting healthy behaviors through One Drop’s Social Art for Behaviour Change approach, we are making sure that vulnerable communities are better equipped to face global health challenges—both during a pandemic such as COVID-19, and after.”

For the people in the 3 districts of Bihar, the joint project of METRO and the One Drop Foundation does not only mean access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services – it also improves their lives ensuring health and prosperity, and has become even more important in these times. Child mortality decreases, waterborne diseases are reduced, health of mothers and newborns improves, girls are enabled to safely manage their periods and attend school and overall safety is increased. One Drop’s Social Art for Behaviour Change™ approach also aims to achieve individual, interpersonal, community and social engagement, promoting healthy and sustainable behaviours with regards to water, sanitation and hygiene.

The participating suppliers in this year’s METRO Water initiative are: Barilla, Bolton, Campofrio, The Coca-Cola Company, Diageo, Glaxosmithkline, Henkel (Cosmetics and Detergents), Lavazza, Mars, McCain, PepsiCo, Pernod Ricard, Podravka, SC Johnson and Unilever.

Read more about the METRO Water Initiative:

About the project in Sheohar:

About the project in Gaya and Madhubani:

METRO is a leading international wholesale company with food and non-food assortments that specialises in serving the needs of hotels, restaurants and caterers (HoReCa) as well as independent traders. Around the world, METRO has some 16 million customers, who can choose whether to shop in one of the large-format stores, order online and collect their purchases at the store or have them delivered. METRO also supports the competitiveness of entrepreneurs and independent businesses with digital solutions and thereby contributes to cultural diversity in retail and hospitality. Sustainability is a key pillar of METRO’s business. METRO has been listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 7 consecutive years. The company operates in 34 countries and employs more than 97,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2019/20, METRO generated sales of €25.6 billion. For more information, please visit In addition, in our online magazine, we also report on the things that affect our customers, employees, partners and suppliers – and the things that we do for them.

About One Drop
The One Drop™ Foundation is an international organization created by Cirque du Soleil and Lune Rouge founder Guy Laliberté with the vision of a better world, where all have access to living conditions that allow empowerment and development. Our mission is to ensure sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for some of the most vulnerable communities through innovative partnerships, creativity and the power of art. Together with its partners, the One Drop Foundation deploys its unique Social Art for Behaviour Change™ approach designed to promote the adoption of healthy water, sanitation and hygiene-related behaviours and empower communities. For this to be possible, the One Drop Foundation creates novel fundraising initiatives supported by a visionary community of partners and donors. The One Drop Foundation is celebrating 13 years of turning water into action, with projects that will soon have improved the living conditions of over 2.1 million people around the world. To learn more about the One Drop Foundation, visit