TOKYO, JAPAN – On November 19, LIXIL, maker of water and housing products, and an advocate of universal access to basic sanitation, celebrates World Toilet Day 2020 by marking improved access to toilets for 21 million people in over 38 countries.¹ As part of the commemoration, LIXIL will release the first progress report for the ‘Make a Splash!’ partnership with UNICEF, highlighting joint efforts to end open defecation and provide access to clean and safe toilets in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. LIXIL continues to expand its contribution to improving global sanitation and hygiene with a series of global marketing and awareness campaigns, its internal “Team Splash” donation-program for employees, and partnerships such as with the Toilet Board Coalition.
Currently, an estimated two billion people—about one-fourth of the global population—live without access to safe, sanitary toilets. 700 children under the age of five die every day due to diarrheal diseases caused by unsanitary conditions. Women or children are placed under risk of being sexually assaulted while trying to find somewhere private to relieve themselves. The lack of toilets in schools also contributes to the gender gap in education – identified as a reason why teenage girls feel they are no longer able to attend classes. The lack of a safe and clean toilet comes with a devastating human cost, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inequalities in access to water services around the world.
LIXIL is committed to improving the livelihood of 100 million people through improved hygiene and sanitation by 2025. The company believes that toilets can change lives, and as a major global maker of toilet and bathroom products, it can help tackle the global sanitation crisis. Leading LIXIL’s ambitious commitment is the SATO brand of toilet products and components, serving as an affordable and aspirational option for households and communities of rural and peri-urban areas of developing economies. Drawing on LIXIL’s expertise in water solutions and its consumer-centric approach, the SATO brand has developed viable solutions that cater to the unique challenges of underserved communities. Today, its products range from a variety of squat toilet pans to toilet stools, and components that include connection systems such as the V-Trap and I-Trap systems. As a social business, SATO is also helping to create the sanitation economy, where communities play a vital role in bringing sustainable change.
Partnership with UNICEF
In 2018, LIXIL entered the “Make a Splash!” partnership with UNICEF. It is UNICEF’s first global shared-value partnership in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, and the first of its kind with a Japanese company. The partnership combines UNICEF’s WASH sector leadership with LIXIL’s global expertise in toilet design and innovation. The “Sanitation and Hygiene for All” report captures the impact the partnership has made on the people, schools and communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania over the last two years.
“We believe the ‘Make A Splash!’ partnership between LIXIL and UNICEF is the right partnership at the right time to help tackle the issue of global sanitation and hygiene “says Jin Montesano, Director, Chief People Officer of LIXIL Group Corporation. “At LIXIL, we design products that matter to people, including the SATO’s range of affordable and innovative bathroom solutions that meet the needs of consumers in some of the most remote parts of the world. The partnership demonstrates how businesses such as LIXIL in collaboration with UNICEF, governments, NGOs and communities can support the development of sustainable sanitation markets. We are proud to be entering the third year of the ‘Make A Splash!’ partnership, and in response to the COVID-19 emergency have expanded the scope to include activities in handwashing and sanitation.”
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, UNICEF echoes LIXIL on the importance of partnerships. “This partnership is a good example of UNICEF’s vision for partnerships with business – it builds on respective strengths to deliver a shared ambition of transformational change for children. It is innovative in its approach in tackling the global sanitation crisis, delivers at scale while also producing business results in terms of corporate reputation, employee engagement and business performance. As we reimagine our world post-COVID, we will need to develop partnerships like these that are creative and innovative. Partnerships like ‘Make A Splash!’ that are based on a shared commitment and responsibility that aim to build a better world for every child, everywhere, will be critical, as no one entity can achieve these results alone.”
Consumer, Employee and Partner Programs
LIXIL will also be marking World Toilet Day with a series of programs and events. LIXIL Owners Club , a free-membership, Japan domestic end-user service will be donating 10 JPY for each new member to the ‘Make a Splash!’ partnership. This follows GROHE’s CRM campaign that donated 20 EU for every shower sold in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg that completed a successful campaign in October. ’Team Splash,’ LIXIL’s employee donation program that has collected over 12 million JPY has started recruiting members for its fifth term, and its own social media campaign #Whereisthetoilet? will run throughout the day to raise awareness of the sanitation crisis on Facebook and Linkedin.
As part of strengthening collaboration, LIXIL continues its role as a founding member of the Toilet Board Coalition, working with public and private partners in building a Sanitation economy, a new marketplace for innovation, entrepreneurship and investment.
The UN has established achieving universal access to basic sanitation and hygiene by 2030 as one of its SDGs, and has called organizations around the world to make it a “Decade of Action,” by coming together and driving real change. Through its SATO social business initiatives, partnerships and stakeholder programs, LIXIL is committed to contributing to the UN’s SDGs as it strives to make better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere.
¹Calculated on the assumption there is an average of five users for every SATO unit shipped, as of October 2020