WASH - access to water, sanitation and hygiene

Current gaps in access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are a major societal burden and a cost to business and economies. Sustainable Development Goals 6.1 and 6.2 aim to achieve universal access to WASH by 2030. By signing and implementing the WASH at the workplace Pledge, business has an opportunity to contribute to the achievement of this goal while reaping the benefits of a healthier, more productive workforce. Our companies also contribute to dialogues and research on WASH in supply chains and communities.

The Challenge

One-third of the world’s population do not have a safe toilet; more than 660 million people do not have access to clean drinking water; and one in every eight people currently defecates in the open. This creates an immense societal burden, amounting to around US$4 billion yearly in lost working days.

The Business Case

Every dollar invested in WASH has a return of US$5. By ensuring WASH access for their employees, supply chains and the communities in which they operate, companies invest in a healthier, more productive workforce and prospering markets.

The Business Solution

Our WASH program is fundamental to company water stewardship. This business solution helps companies address WASH in their different spheres of influence:

  • In their direct operations through the WASH at the workplace Pledge, ensuring that WASH at the workplace provisions are integrated into internal company systems;
  • In their supply chains and communities through collaborative research on overcoming barriers to action on WASH in supply chains, and through open dialogue on the role and leverage of companies and governments in community WASH provision;
  • In global advocacy by communicating widely about the importance of WASH for worker well-being and economic growth, as well as in wider water stewardship.