Only after we began our journey as a champion for toilets did we realize just how much we did not know about the sanitation economy. We did not know that for every three people in the world, one person is forced to use an unclean toilet and about 900 million people have to plan their day around how they are going to relieve themselves because they have no access to a toilet. We did not know that a toilet can make girls smarter; girls who reach the age of menstruation stay home from school where there is no toilet, and falling behind in schoolwork can lead to dropping out altogether.
For LIXIL, we made global sanitation and hygiene a top priority because we recognized that it’s simply our business to do so. LIXIL’s vision is to help every person on the planet achieve their dream of a better home. Whether “better home” is a remodeled kitchen in Tokyo or the first basic household toilet in Nairobi, LIXIL’s greater purpose cannot be achieved without our playing an active role in supporting the broader sanitation economy. It’s not about whether it’s good for business; it IS our business.
LIXIL introduced a low cost smart toilet called SATO in 2012. SATO now is a social business focused on sanitation products for the base of the pyramid, to ensure that every family is able to access basic high quality sanitation at an affordable price. The products we develop are specifically for the rural sanitation space, where the vast majority of open defecators (9 out of 10) – still reside. In 2017, we launched a next generation product ‘V-Trap’ specifically designed for India, where PM Modi’s unprecedented commitment to achieve Open Defecation Free by 2019 is worthy of backing. SATO V-Trap provides a life-long solution to sanitation issues by using an innovative ‘V-Trap’ technology and a simple trap door that dramatically reduces odor, minimizes insects and is easy to maintain. It has been an exciting journey to try these SATO products as part of the innovative initiatives to make Pune the first smart sanitation city with Toilet Board Coalition.
Since we started working on this pressing global sanitation issue, we recognized that this challenge cannot be addressed by one actor alone; partnerships and collaborations with multiple stakeholders is crucial. That’s why we are an active leader in the TBC. We also recently announced a one-of-a-kind global partnership with UNICEF, “Make a Splash! Toilets for All”, to tackle the sanitation challenge with WASH experts focused on demand creation and behavior change. By leveraging our complementary strengths, LIXIL and UNICEF will contribute to global efforts to improve access to basic sanitation for 250 million people around the world by 2021. To do this, we will work together to open up new markets for appropriate sanitation solutions. We encourage more companies to enter and expand this market for a better future of all children, families and communities. Let’s make a splash together to provide toilets for all.
– Jin Song Montesano, Chief Public Affairs Officer (CPAO) LIXIL Corporation