Amidst Pandemic, Kimberly-Clark Continues to Address Global Sanitation Crisis Affecting Two Billion People
As the global COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold earlier this year, many focused on ensuring access to essential products, like toilet paper. Yet two billion people around the world still lack access to basic sanitation and clean water.
Over the past six years, the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and several of its trusted brands, including Andrex, Neve, Scott, Suave and Baby Soft, have impacted change through Toilets Change Lives, a multinational program focused on the sanitation crisis. Through consumer awareness, NGO partnerships, and on-the-ground activations, the company brings toilets, sanitation education and increased health, safety and dignity to many of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
“The need for access to clean water and sustainable sanitation has never been more urgent,” said Jenny Lewis, Vice President, Kimberly-Clark Foundation. “While the sanitation crisis existed long before the pandemic, the public health crisis combined with the impacts of climate change have only magnified the issue and the need for solutions. There is still a lot of work to do, and our Toilets Change Lives program is helping to accelerate it.”
This year, in partnership with key customers and NGOs Water For People, WaterAid, and Plan International, the program provided resources in 10 countries, including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru and South Africa.
In Bangladesh, Kimberly-Clark’s Andrex brand and WaterAid completed five new public toilet blocks in Dhaka, Chattogram and Khulna. This is an expansion of the four toilet blocks that were built during the first phase of the project (April 2017 to March 2018). The nine public toilets in this program have generated over 1.6 million uses since 2017, which is more than double the projected impact.
Kimberly-Clark and WaterAid also delivered sanitation facilities to five schools in South Africa by building four inclusive toilet blocks and rehabilitating 19 standpipes to increase water and sanitation access to 1,200 students and 5,000 community members in the Vhembe District of Limpopo. In 2021, the program will expand to another four schools to ensure that an additional 2,700 students and two surrounding communities gain access to these vital services.
More than 80 million people in Latin America do not have access to basic sanitation. Toilets Change Lives continued to bring a positive impact in 2020 by providing critical sanitation-related resources. Since its launch, Toilets Change Lives – with support from our Scott, Suave and Neve brands – has impacted more than 270,000 lives in Latin America.
“Installing a toilet in a community truly changes the life trajectory of everyone in that community for generations to come,” said Gonzalo Uribe, President of Kimberly-Clark’s Latin America Consumer Business. “It enables children to attend school and continue their education, obtain living wage jobs, support healthy, thriving families of their own, and ultimately strengthen their communities. It all comes full circle.”
The Toilets Change Lives program is a critical part of Kimberly-Clark’s ambition to improve the lives and well-being of 1 billion people in underserved communities around the world by 2030, and serves to deliver against the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
For more information about Kimberly-Clark's 2030 ambitions, visit kimberly-clark.com/esg.