Essity and WSSCC issue Joint Global Report on Hygiene Matters


Convene with Influencers during a side session of the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York

As part of its ongoing support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, leading global hygiene and forest products company Essity, in partnership with The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), a United Nations entity devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of the most vulnerable people around the world, announced the launch of a joint research report on hygiene practices worldwide, the Hygiene Matters report. The initiative was established by Essity in 2008 to raise awareness of the connection between hygiene, health and wellbeing.

The latest edition of the Hygiene Matters report, which was launched during a special side session of the 71st United Nations General Assembly today, is based on a survey with 12,000 respondents in twelve countries. The survey explores three themes: an economic perspective on the value of hygiene, a social perspective focused on taboos and stereotypes around hygiene and the role hygiene will play in social and economic development in emerging and developed markets in the future. The special side session during the General Assembly  brought together stakeholders and influencers from around the world to provide recommendations for policymakers in both developed and developing countries to address hygiene challenges meaningfully and systematically. Since 2008, Essity has conducted a total of five surveys to gather insights about global hygiene perceptions, issues and behaviors to contribute to a knowledge-based public debate with the goal of improving hygiene for people everywhere and breaking taboos around incontinence and menstruation.

“Essity offers hygiene products that make life easier for millions of people around the world.  We share our expertise and educate on the importance of good hygiene practices and engage in activities across the globe such as educating young women about menstruation and children about the importance of proper hand hygiene. In 2014, WSSCC and Essity started working together to break the silence on Menstrual Hygiene Management, a partnership that has evolved and now includes the entire human life cycle. Today, we’re announcing the next step in our efforts to raise hygiene standards globally,” said Magnus Groth, President and CEO, Essity.

“Partnerships are one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and by pairing WSSCC’s technical expertise on sanitation and hygiene issues in developing countries with Essity’s global brands, knowledge and commitment to sustainability, education and innovation, we will increase awareness around  taboos surrounding personal hygiene and make a meaningful difference,” Magnus Groth continues.

At any given time, 800 million women are experiencing their period. Yet, even in the US, women face limited access to education, products, school and work environments that make it possible to participate fully in society when menstruating. According to the Hygiene Matters report, more than half of the female populations in the majority of countries surveyed say they feel uncomfortable in social situations when on their period – a discomfort that’s strongly connected to norms and social stigma.

“Public-private partnerships are essential to global progress related to personal hygiene,” said Amina Mohammed, chair of WSSCC. “By working together, we can more effectively inspire decision-makers and champions to act, whether on policy, practice or even advocating for hygiene.”

With the launch of the Hygiene Matters report, Essity and WSSCC continue a global conversation around hygiene issues and opportunities across organizations, sectors and countries, sharing successes and opening the dialogue on what is often an unspoken topic: personal hygiene.

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