Through Essity’s “Essentials Initiative”, we are conducting a global dialogue to increase awareness of the importance of hygiene and health and its link to well-being. Two integral aspects of the “Essentials Initiative” are a global survey of attitudes to hygiene and health and a report. The reports address the economic value of investing in these areas, breaking taboos and stigma, as well as innovative solutions for the future for all stages throughout life. The reports are produced in collaboration with the UN’s Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). The WSSCC is the main UN body that works solely with sanitation and hygiene issues. In 2018, we re-named our Hygiene Matters Initiative to the Essentials Initiative to also emphasize the health dimension as part of the scope.
Every day, millions of women, men and children refrain from going to work or school or from taking part in social events because of hygiene and health-related concerns. The concerns or obstacles could be due to the lack of clean toilets or access to hygiene products, but also due to cultural taboos and stigma. For many people, this results in exclusion from society and for society this leads to a loss of economic value or increased costs. This means there is both a human and a business perspective to investing in hygiene and health and spreading knowledge about this.