Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
As a leading global hygiene and health company, Essity has an important role to play in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Essity is working to overcome global challenges together with customers, consumers, suppliers, other partners and community representatives. In parallel, the global goals create favorable business opportunities for Essity. In 2020, Essity continued its commitment to break barriers to well-being by being a convening partner to the United Nations Foundation’s annual Global Dialogue on the Sustainable Development Goals. We have chosen to specifically focus on goals 3, 5, 6, 12, 13 and 15 where we can make a contribution through Essity’s operations, offerings, expertise and experience. We describe our work in 2020 below.
Good health and well-being
Essity has contributed to goal 3 for example through its intensive work toward better global hygiene and health standards. By providing access to our leading solutions, we are contributing to increased quality of life and well-being. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we ensured production and deliveries of our products and further developed our offerings. For example, we invested in production of face masks and expanded hand sanitizer delivery capacity. Essity has been working for many years to raise awareness of the importance of hand hygiene to avoid the spread of disease and our Tork brand promotes good hand hygiene through products such as paper hand towels, soap and hand sanitizer.
By pursuing educational initiatives and collaborations to break the silence around issues such as menstruation, incontinence and lymphedema, Essity works for greater gender equality. For example, we collaborate with UNICEF Mexico in “Hygiene is our right”, which highlights the rights of children and young people in relation to health, education and gender equality. Our brands’ bold initiatives “Liberating our Periods”, “Womb Stories” and “TENA #Ageless” break barriers and aim to strengthen the self-esteem of women. Under our Consumer Tissue brand Zewa, we have pursued the successful initiatives “Hygiene has no gender” and “The unfair race”, which highlights the importance of sharing household chores. Our “Essentials Talks” podcast focuses on stigmas relating to hygiene and health. In it, we talk to people who have experienced these stigmas and with experts around the world on topics such as incontinence, menstruation and hand hygiene.
Clean water and sanitation
We work to achieve efficient water usage throughout the entire life cycle of our products and to improve water treatment and the quality of the effluent water discharged from our facilities. As part of our work to contribute to good sanitation for everyone, in 2020 we became a strategic partner in the “Global Handwashing Partnership” and together with the WHO and UNICEF are pursuing the “Hand hygiene for all” initiative, which aims to guarantee access to products and services for hand hygiene, particularly in vulnerable areas and countries. The “Ella Handwashing app” is used to educate children and preschool teachers in hand hygiene. Often together with local partners, we work to offer girls and women access to feminine care products, clean water and toilets to enable studies and work even during menstruation.
Responsible consumption and production
Together with our customers, consumers, suppliers and other business partners, we are working toward a sustainable and circular society. In 2020, 64% of our innovations resulted in social and/or environmental improvements. We launched our first washable absorbent underwear, increased the proportion of renewable material in our packaging and more customers are using Tork PaperCircle®, the world’s first recycling service for paper hand towels. Through our MSAVE and ESAVE programs, we have reduced material and energy consumption in our production.
We address the challenges of climate change through investments in innovation and cooperation with others to reduce resource consumption and environmental impact. Essity researches and invests in several ground-breaking ideas in sustainable technology in our manufacturing processes with the aim of reducing the company’s environmental footprint and setting new standards for the industry. In 2020, we prepared to start tissue production based on alternative fibers from plant-based agricultural by-products in 2021. This will provide Essity with an additional source of raw material and a production method that requires less water and energy use and fewer chemicals. Our targets to reduce carbon emissions have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and between 2016 and 2020 we reduced our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 11%.
Life on land
As a global purchaser of fresh fiber, we require our fresh fiber suppliers to maintain and safeguard the principles of biodiversity and forest conservation. We prioritize Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) as a certification system and encourage all suppliers to strive for certification. In 2020, we increased our share of certified fresh fiber and 95% of all purchased fresh fiber was certified. Essity cooperates with various stakeholders to promote sustainable forestry operations, including the protection of conservation values, and contributes to a more circular society. Essity is included on CDP’s prestigious ‘A List’ for our substantial and measurable work to counteract deforestation in the supply chain and for our sustainable raw material sourcing.