Sponsored By: EON – The stakeholder relations group

Winner:  LIXIL Corporation: Tackling The Sanitation Crisis

One in three people lives without access to proper sanitation and approximately one billion have no choice but to defecate in the open. Around 800 children under five die every day from diarrhoea due to dirty water, poor sanitation and a lack of hygiene.

In 2016, LIXIL Corporation launched a campaign to raise awareness of the human and economic costs of this sanitation crisis. As the global leader in sanitary ware and water technology, LIXIL believes access to safe and hygienic sanitation practices should be available to everyone and has pledged to provide better sanitation to 100 million people by 2020.

The campaign had three main objectives: to raise awareness of the scale of the sanitation challenge and position LIXIL as a thought leader; to build or reinforce  partnerships with organisations that could help achieve this mission; to increase access to sanitation by expanding the availability of SATO products (toilets designed for low-income people who don’t currently use toilets).

Eschewing the traditional humanitarian narrative about the impact of poor sanitation on individuals, the campaign kicked off with hard-hitting statistics to catch the attention of policymakers, potential customers and partners.

A report into the economic costs of the sanitation crisis produced with Oxford Economics and with a contribution from WaterAid revealed that the crisis cost the global economy almost $250 billion in 2015, putting the spotlight on the macro effects of the lack of access to toilets and complementing the more human approach used by many charities and NGOs.

The approach was based on insights into what would engage the decision makers LIXIL wanted to talk to and had the desired results. LIXIL secured meetings with senior stakeholders in politics and business, and developed a strong relationship with the non-governmental sector. UN Habitat, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and Peace Winds Japan all showed a big interest in LIXIL’s solutions. The report attracted strong media coverage and the content was shared by global partners including the Gates Foundation, WaterAid, and the Toilet Board Coalition.

Building on the success of the report, activities for World Toilet Day — the UN-recognised day to highlight the sanitation crisis — focused on building awareness of the scale of the challenge in developed markets including Japan, and addressing specific issues in India.

The crisis is felt most severely in India because over half the population does not  have access to a toilet, reducing Indian GDP by a potential $106 billion in 2015. The national government is making a concerted effort to ensure all households have a toilet by October 2019 and LIXIL plans to launch its SATO product in  the market.

By positioning itself as a key partner in achieving the government’s mission, LIXIL  amplified its social impact and maximised commercial opportunities.

Around the world, LIXIL consolidated its relationships with local partners and fine-tuned its innovative sanitation technologies for low-income consumers.

More than 6 million people have gained improved access to sanitation thanks to LIXIL’s SATO business; over 5,000 SATO units were sold in Kenya within 10 weeks of launch. SATO first-wave products to India were approved by the Indian Government’s Mashelkar Committee for its list of recommended products.

LIXIL has built on its initiative in 2017. A total of 200,000 SATO units are to be donated to those needing safe sanitation via UNHCR, WaterAid, BRAC and Habitat for Humanity, improving sanitation for approximately 1 million people.
In Japan it has launched a “Toilets for All” marketing campaign — buy one LIXIL toilet and give one SATO toilet. This is one of the first CRM campaigns in Japan, generating significant media attention and a positive impact on LIXIL’s reputation and sales.


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