LIXIL makes pioneering water and housing products that solve everyday, real-life challenges, making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere.
Promote and enable access to safe and hygienic sanitation practices, especially for women and girls, while preventing the harmful transmission of diseases for children.
An estimated two billion people — about one-quarter of the global population — live without access to safe, sanitary toilets. Among them, approximately 670 million people still regularly defecate in the open. These figures come with a devastating human cost: Each day, over 700 children under five die from diarrheal diseases caused by unsanitary living conditions.
A lack of safe, clean toilets poses particular dangers for women and children. There are countless cases of women or children being sexually assaulted while trying to find somewhere private to relieve themselves. Sanitation issues also contribute to the gender gap in education — the lack of sanitary school toilets has been identified as a reason why girls who have started menstruating feel they are no longer able to attend classes.
The impact of the sanitation crisis is felt throughout entire nations and regions, crippling opportunities for growth and development. In 2015, global economic losses from poor sanitation were estimated at USD 223 billion.* Among the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, Target 6.2 seeks to “achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.” This highlights the need for collaboration between governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private companies, and various other sectors in tackling sanitation issues.
* According to “The True Cost of Poor Sanitation,” a 2016 survey conducted by Oxford Economics, international NGO WaterAid, and LIXIL.
Slum in Mumbai
LIXIL continues to strive towards the target of improving the sanitary environments of 100 million people, but we have pushed out our target date from 2020 to 2025. We hope that accelerating cooperation with various partners to help expand our business will also help improve people’s sanitary environments and quality of life.
Sanitation problems vary by region, depending on the availability of water resources, the level of urbanization, and access to toilet facilities. LIXIL’s Sato Business division is the primary driver of R&D and business operations tailored to the characteristics and needs of individual markets, including infrastructure, income levels, and environmental restrictions.
The SATO toilet systems are a range of simple, affordable solutions intended for use in developing countries. Flushing requires only 0.2-1 liter of water, using a counterweight trapdoor that otherwise remains closed to reduce odors and prevent insects, such as flies, from spreading bacteria.
The original SATO model, developed through dialogue with communities in Bangladesh, received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Production and sales began in the country in 2013.
The SATO Toilet Systems are currently manufactured and sold in six countries in Asia and Africa. Including donations,some 4.3 million units have been distributed to at least 38 countries, contributing to better sanitation for an estimated 21 million people.(as of September 2020)
We are collaborating with our partner companies and NGOs to establish regional production and sales systems. By driving the make-sell-use cycle, we seek to generate regional employment and enable autonomous, continuous improvements in sanitation conditions.
One such job-creation initiative is the training of workers who install SATO units and build toilet cubicles. Through training programs offered in collaboration with NGOs, we support skill acquisition primarily among women and young people. Reports in India showed a 200% increase in the earnings of several women who received our training.
At the same time, we are working to drive people’s awareness of the importance of sanitary toilet use. Unless they are used, installed toilets do not contribute to solving sanitation issues. That is why we work with UNICEF and NGOs to promote understanding of the importance of sanitation and toilet use.
Solving sanitation issues is not something that LIXIL alone can achieve. Our initiatives rely on collaborative partnerships that utilize the strengths of various specialist organizations, NGOs, and business partners.
In 2018, LIXIL Corporation and UNICEF formed the Make a Splash! global partnership to improve sanitation for children around the world. We launched the initiative in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania to establish markets for hygiene-related goods and ensure the availability of affordable products for people lacking toilets. We are working to expand this market-driven program.
In Tanzania, we have been cooperating on a government-driven campaign to ensure access to toilets for all of the nation’s citizens by 2025. We will also promote similar campaigns in other countries.
Make a Splash! >
LIXIL signed a memorandum with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the independent administrative agency that coordinates overseas development assistance for the government of Japan, to cooperate on the goals of improving sanitary environments and securing safe water in developing countries. This is the first cooperative endeavor between a private company and JICA in this field, and we intend to accelerate progress by leveraging our mutual strengths.
In September 2020, we were named as a JICA-SDGs Partner by JICA in recognition of our efforts in partnership with the organization towards the achievement of SDGs in developing countries.
The list of JICA-SDGs partners (Japanese Only / A new page will open) >
LIXIL is a member of the Toilet Board Coalition, a global alliance of public and private sector partners that aims to develop sustainable solutions to the sanitation crisis. We assist with the running of the organization, mentor entrepreneurs who tackle sanitation problems, and engage in advocacy through the Toilet Board Coalition.
In December 2018, LIXIL Corporation received the Deputy-Chief’s Award, given by Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the 2nd Japan SDGs Awards. LIXIL’s efforts to tackle sanitation issues, including the development of SATO products and the solving of challenges throughout the value chain, as well as advocacy in collaboration with NGOs and international bodies, have been recognized through various awards.
2nd Japan SDGs Award Ceremony