Jack Sim

Jack Sim, founder of World Toilet Organization, achieved financial success through several business ventures at an early age. As he grew older, Jack felt the need to change his direction in life and give back to humanity– he wanted to live his life according to the motto “Live a useful life”. Jack soon left his businesses and embarked on a journey to have a positive impact in the world. In 2001, Jack Sim founded the World Toilet Organization (WTO) to bring the Sanitation issue to the global spotlight and to advocate for clean sanitation for all. After years of dedication to the Sanitation issue, Jack Sim continues to be involved but in 2011, he embarked on a new radical project, that being BoP HUB. He had a vision to “design business to end poverty”. Jack is a firm believer in the economic empowerment of the poor. BoP HUB now serves as a vehicle for partners in every industry and sector to collaborate and accelerate effective social business models focused at the base of the pyramid.

Among his many accolades, Jack was named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the year in 2006; Ashoka Global fellow in 2007; Asian Development Bank Water Champion in 2007; TIME Magazine Hero of the Environment in 2008; Reader’s Digest Asian of the Year in 2011; and a Synergos Senior Fellow in 2013.


Breaking cultural taboos: addressing the global sanitation crisis

Jack will talk with ease and enthusiasm about how to draw attention to issues that are culturally taboo or ‘unsexy’, using the example of his continuing journey to break the taboo about sanitation starting in Singapore and now reaching over 50 countries. He will share with you the trials and tribulations, highs and lows of his mission. How did he succeed in drawing attention to the previously taboo topic of sanitation? What are the secrets to this one man achieving so much? What motivated him to give up his businesses and pursue a life driving the sanitation movement globally? 

How to build a movement 

Jack will talk about the fundamentals of building a movement, and share how he started World Toilet Organization, which has since gone on to catalyse the global sanitation movement. He will cover topics from the merits of an open source approach, how to inspire others to join you, how to leverage partners for greater impact, and how to get a seat at the table with global leaders. Jack will talk about how he has built and led the global sanitation movement through World Toilet Organization, and how he grabbed the attention of leaders all over the world.

Unlocking business opportunities at the base of the pyramid

The Base of the Economic Pyramid (BoP) market represents a blue ocean opportunity – producing goods and services to meet the needs of the 4 billion customers at the BoP. The combined value of the BoP market is estimated to be around $5 trillion dollars. Many players are trying to serve the BoP but different interests and uncoordinated efforts have led to an inefficient use of resources, and a low success rate of new ventures. Jack will share his approach to forging partnerships between social enterprises and the private sector to create a vibrant global marketplace for more than 4 billion new consumers, and how you can unlock the potential of this emerging market.

Entrepreneurship / Social Enterprise

Jack will talk about his ideas and experience of entrepreneurship. Not having a university degree did not stop him from starting his first business at age 24. At 40, having reached financial independence as a successful business man, he retired from his business and decided to dedicate his remaining years towards humanitarian causes that can give real meaning to his life – founding first the Restroom Association Singapore, and the World Toilet Organization and later BoP Hub. Through the Sanishop sanitation social enterprise (set up by World Toilet Organization), and the BoP Hub, Jack has also gained first-hand experience in setting up and scaling social enterprises that benefit communities in developing countries.

Leverage model: how to build a global brand at zero cost

Jack Sim will let you in on the secret of how to achieve global branding with zero cost. It’s no trade secret but it’s one that will make you sit up and question your current branding strategy. 

Thinking in a new way

Jack will tell you about his way of thinking, inspired by toilet associations in Japan, he decided to start his own movement to flush away Singapore’s foul toilet reputation. He knew that people would laugh at him, but he didn’t care. Instead of getting angry, he laughed along with them. “We decided to see the humour in it – and there’s a lot of humour in toilets,” he says. “We just encourage people not to be shy about it, and we laugh together and discuss it in the end.” This approach has worked. Starting out with 15 members in the RAS, Jack Sim went global when he founded the World Toilet Organization in 2001. Now, representatives of toilet associations from more than 50 countries meet every year to discuss issues such as toilet maintenance, water technology and sanitation. It’s all about a new way of thinking.

The Creativity of Re-Inventing the Everyday

Jack will talk about what it means to ‘creatively reinvent the everyday,’ whether through artful storytelling or passionate advocacy for the billions living without access to clean water and sanitation. Jack talks about the significance of re-inventing consumer objects as humble as a latrine to address the global sanitation crisis. The conversation will cover Sim’s inspiring efforts in breaking the toilet taboo and his commitment to forging partnerships between social enterprises and the private sector to create a vibrant global marketplace for more than 4 billion customers at the base of the pyramid.

Peggy Liu 刘佩琪

China Today / Sustainability

Lewis Pugh

Explorer, World Record Swimmer and Environmentalist

Andrew Savitz

Sustainability in Business