Creating Shared Value: The Power of Collaboration
Diversey’s approach to sustainability is to use environmental stewardship and social responsibility to drive Sustainable Livelihood. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is part of our sustainability platform and guides our overall commitments to improving peoples’ lives. Drilling down further in CSR, we also have programs that create shared value (CSV). Unlike some CSR efforts, CSV is not simply philanthropy. CSV represents true partnerships with our customers to address global challenges and improve lives in the communities where we operate.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identify seventeen key challenges global society must address. Our CSV programs are intended to help transform our industry and contribute to progress on the SDGs. The scale of the problems requires partnerships with organizations with both global reach and local ambition. Initiatives such as Soap for Hope™ and Linens for Life™ demonstrate the power of collaboration to produce meaningful, wide-reaching positive results.
More than 2.5 billion people worldwide lack proper sanitation. Meanwhile, a typical 400-room hotel generates 3.5 tons of solid soap waste every year. The Soap for Hope program collaborates with our hotel customers around the world to salvage used soap slivers, sanitize and recycle them into new soap bars for communities in need. The initiative reduces waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, creates livelihood opportunities and improves lives by providing hygiene solutions to people who typically don’t have access to soap.
Since its launch in 2013, Soap for Hope has collected 2,623 metric tons of soap waste from 540 partner hotels and created nearly 21.4 million bars of new soap. Annually, Soap for Hope benefits more than 951,000 people from 40 countries. These numbers continue to grow as the program reaches new communities. Based on its success in improving lives, Soap for Hope was recognized at the 10th Annual Global CSR Summit and Awards 2018™ for two awards: Platinum for Best Community Program and Gold for CSR Leadership.
A specific example of the impact Soap for Hope is making involves the Hogar de Día de Iguazú, a home for children in Argentina. Since partnering together last November, the program there has already recycled 1,000 bars of soap. Diversey is continually seeking ways to increase momentum for the project and partner with new hotels and service organizations to reach as many people as possible.
Annually about 21.5 million people are forcibly displaced from their homes due to natural disasters, often leaving them without access to clothes or bedding. Diversey’s Linens for Life program was created to assist people displaced by these disasters and reduce linen waste. Linens discarded by hotels are often just discarded as useless. Instead of those linens becoming a source of waste, Linens for Life captures them as a resource. Families residing in refugee camps can earn a small livelihood by converting retired hotel linens into new, useful items. Communities receive basic training on how to hand sew and use sewing machines donated by Diversey, and then sell the items.
Since 2011, Diversey has collected nearly 25 tons of linen—the equivalent of 16,000 queen-sized bedsheets—for disaster relief and livelihood generation. Linens for Life is also consistently expanding to new communities to benefit an increasing number of people in need.
In July, Diversey partnered with NTUC Health Singapore in an initiative that invites seniors to take part in the program as part of their daytime activities. Nearly 60 seniors from seven NTUC Health Silver Circle senior care centers in Singapore have participated in Linens for Life, working with linens from several area hotels. Social workers have noted the increased vibrancy of these seniors, and doctors are seeing a correlation between participation in Linens For Life and delayed progression of dementia of the seniors.
A Bigger Impact
Environmental stewardship and social responsibility shouldn’t be viewed as a cost to business. They create exciting opportunities for making a positive global impact. At Diversey, we forge meaningful partnerships to transform waste into resources that benefit those in need. Every opportunity for partnership brings us closer to shaping worthwhile change and a more sustainable future.