Health & hygiene
Lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene (WASH) cause millions of preventable deaths each year – particularly among children.
Although adequate access to WASH is a basic human right, the number of people who suffer from poor or lack of access remains staggering: 2.3 billion people lack access to safely managed water services, and nearly 900 million people defecate in the open; 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation; 1.4 billion people lacking basic handwashing facilities with soap and water at home; and 844 million people lack access to safe drinking water.
The World Health Organization estimates that tackling these interconnected issues has the potential to prevent at least 9% of global disease, and 6% of all deaths. Evidence shows that people will be healthier and happier and communities will be more productive if they have improved access to sanitation, safe drinking water, and basic levels of hygiene. Tackling these issues is essential to lifting people out of poverty.
Our health and hygiene brands – Lifebuoy, Domestos, Smile, Pureit and Vaseline – aim to improve health through better hygiene. These everyday products – soaps, toilet cleaners and toothpastes – as well as our innovative water purifiers, can help prevent disease and improve people’s health and well-being. And ultimately, help to save lives.
But health is not just about hygiene. Many people worldwide suffer from low self-esteem and feel anxious about their bodies. And this can have a knock-on effect on their personal lives and careers. Through Dove, our leading Beauty & Personal Care brand, we’re helping women and girls to be confident in their own bodies and build their self-esteem.
The health and hygiene pillar of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) primarily contributes to two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Good Health and Well-being (SDG3); and Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG6).