‘The recent re-branding effort highlights the integral role sustainability plays in the Sealed Air identity’

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July 08, 2016 7:35 AM

Sealed Air’s Diversey Care as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has recently launched an access to soap programme in partnership with Doctors for You, a humanitarian organisation. Himanshu Jain, MD&VP, Indian Sub-Continent, Sealed Air, explains the strategy behind the programme and impact achieved so far in an interview with Raelene Kambli

Sealed Air’s Diversey Care as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has recently launched an access to soap programme in partnership with Doctors for You, a humanitarian organisation. Himanshu Jain, MD&VP, Indian Sub-Continent, Sealed Air, explains the strategy behind the programme and impact achieved so far in an interview with Raelene Kambli

How important it is for corporates to invest in healthcare through the CSR activities?

201607ehm18Himanshu Jain

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept that has many different meanings and definitions. The way it is understood and implemented differs greatly for each company and for each country.

Companies have their duty towards the society and CSR helps in bridging the gap between society and corporate world. CSR will help the healthcare sector to participate in social issues that could serve to improve their images and enhance the stakeholder.

The healthcare industry deals with a variety of challenges. Right from labour shortage, costly technological advancements, implementation of international quality standards, etc., makes this industry one of the most operationally difficult sectors. Hospitals have to work harder than other industries to win and retain that trust while coping with the operational challenges.

India carries 20 per cent of the world’s disease burden, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). About 75 per cent of deaths globally are caused by communicable diseases, of which India accounts for 17 per cent.

CSR funds are  therefore being used to encourage innovation in healthcare processes and medical devices to deliver healthcare in a portable, convenient and cost – effective way. Investment in healthcare is an asset to the country and companies should seriously consider investing in healthcare.

Explain to us the rational behind your Soap for Hope campaign and how have you implemented this?

Millions of children and their families around the world live and work in slums, in dire poverty, with very little or no access to soap. Hand-washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases in the developing countries, where millions of children per year suffer from diseases that could have been prevented with proper hand-washing.

Soap for Hope is based on a simple process that requires no running water or electricity. Once the used soap are collected from hotels, Sealed Air, through an NGO, teaches the local people to recycle/ process soap using an innovative cold-press method with simple but uniquely customised equipment. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes and once the used soap is recycled into fresh bars of soap, the soap will be distributed to communities which lack access to soap or sanitation. UNICEF facts show that hand washing with soap can reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARI’s) by around 23 per cent. Hand washing can be a critical measure in controlling pandemic outbreaks of respiratory infections. Several studies carried out during the 2006 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) suggest that washing hands frequently can cut the spread of the respiratory virus by 55 per cent. Hand washing with soap has been cited as one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent diarrhoeal related deaths.

Sealed Air’s Soap for Hope, is a soap-recycling programme. This innovative programme has been pioneered by Sealed Air to recycle used hotel soaps into fresh soap for distribution in local communities. The programme’s objective is three-fold: to save lives by promoting a cleaner and healthier environment through proper hand-washing with soap; to provide a means of livelihood for local communities through learning a new skill; and to help hotels reduce waste by recycling used or discarded soap.

Is your campaign a shared value – business model approach?

Yes! Soap for Hope initiative is an integrated systematic shared value business model approach by Sealed Air Corporation. A typical 400-room hotel generates 3.5 metric tonnes of solid soap waste per year. Hand-washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases in developing regions. Soap for Hope, addresses waste reduction and hygiene enhancement at the same time, while also generating livelihoods for local communities. Thus, this programme creates Shared Value for communities through engagement with hotel partners. Furthermore, the programme also demonstrates the massive potential for hotels to deliver shared value through its low-cost and sustainable model. Hotels benefit by supporting their own communities while achieving their sustainability goals and finding an ideal use for soap that is otherwise discarded, all at a minimal cost.

What are the outcomes so far?

  • Access to soap for those who need it, thereby reducing the chances of serious illnesses for the community, especially young children.
  • Create livelihood opportunities by enabling families to earn a small living by making soap.
  • Hotels have a meaningful way to recycle soap and hotel staff can be involved in the project, making a positive difference to the hotel and in the community.

Do you have any more shared value programmes under your CSR activity?

Other programmes of Sealed Air which create shared value are

United Nations World Food Programme Partnership: Sealed Air’s vision is to create a better way of life, and so we have partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme and WFP USA on disaster relief by not only making monetary donations, but by using our footprint, product portfolio and customer relationships to bring potable water and shelter to affected areas.

Alliance for Water Stewardship: Sealed Air was one of the first businesses to help the Alliance for Water Stewardship develop an international standard for responsible water management. The Beta version of the standard was launched in March 2013, and after five years of work, the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s International Water Stewardship Standard was released in April 2014.

World Wildlife Fund: A member of the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Savers Programme in (2008) – Sealed Air’s Diversey Care was honoured for fulfilling a 10-year commitment to reduce CO2 emissions. By the end of 2013, it had reduced absolute CO2 emissions by over 48 per cent from 2003 levels. Sealed Air is also a founding member of the WWF Global Water Roundtable to establish water use standards and address clean water issues (2009).

Porter Prize for creating distinctive value: Sealed Air India received the award from the Institute for Competitiveness for creating new market spaces, segments and solutions that redefined markets. The award recognises the role of strategy in the creation of unique and valuable positions that cannot be easily imitated by the competitors.

Sealed Air Among Top Companies on CDP’s 2014 & 2015 Global 500

Climate Change Report: The company’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the risks of potential climate change were recognised by the CDP, the world’s only global environmental disclosure system. According to CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report 2014, which presents new analysis linking S&P 500 industry leaders with financial out performance, Sealed Air, was one of the 63 companies on S&P 500 to achieve a position in CDP’s S&P 500 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI).

Do you think that this approach can lead a company toward sustainability in the long run?

Our goal is to be the leader in protecting the important, what you eat and drink, where you go and the products you ship. Sealed Air Corporation creates a world that feels, tastes and works better. In 2015, the company generated revenue of approximately $7.0 billion by helping its customers achieve their sustainability goals in the face of today’s biggest social and environmental challenges. Sustainability is an integral part of our business practices, innovative solutions and values. Sustainability is at the core of all what we do. The recent rebranding effort highlights the integral role of sustainability which Sealed Air plays. The three sides of the Trillian, our new logo, symbolises the values we bring to bear on behalf of our customers — sustainability, performance and cost competitiveness.

Who is your NGO Partner? Why did you choose to partner with this NGO?

Doctors for You (DFY) is our NGO partner in the Soap for Hope Initiative. DFY is a pan India humanitarian organisation with international presence and is working in various disaster hit zones since the last seven years. DFY focuses on providing medical care to the vulnerable communities during crisis and non-crisis situation, emergency medical aid to people affected by natural disaster, conflicts and epidemics. They are also committed to reducing disaster risk to human society by delivering trainings and capacity development in emergency preparedness and response. DFY team operates with vulnerable communities across India. Distributing soaps in these areas will help increase the effectiveness of immunisation programmes, and also make people aware about hand washing.

What is the impact of your campaign  and within your organisation?

Soap for Hope was first launched in Cambodia in 2013. Since then, it has been implemented in multiple Asian countries and expanded beyond the region. Soap for Hope’s most recent launch was in Vietnam which was a resounding success with participation from 11 hotels. Soap for Hope is now in 17 cities across 11 countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya and South Africa. Currently, 120 hotels are supporting the programme and more than 160,000 beneficiaries gain free access to soap every year.

Recycling used hotel soap is not a new idea; however, the costs are usually high due to collection, shipment, a centralised reprocessing plant and redistribution. Through an innovative but simple cold-press method that is easy to operate, Soap for Hope decentralises and brings the initiative to communities that are located near partner hotels.

It has been officially launched in India on May 27, 2016 and the company aims to take this project to other cities across India. The company has received the Asian CSR award for this initiative. We intend to reach out to more communities and create an impactful living by touching thousands of lives by the end of this year and thus create this as a movement rather than a one – off initiative.

How involved are your employees in this CSR activity?

CSR for Sealed Air India is not about donating money, but making a difference in the lives of the people we encounter. Our employees are very much involved in ‘giving’, even before we had an organised CSR committee. Every time, any calamity happens, we rise to the occasion fully; whether by donating a month’s salary, or collection of clothes, books etc. or participating enthusiastically in blood donation drives etc. It is a practice at Sealed Air, without an exception. We now have a CSR committee headed by senior management team, and with various employees as members. The CSR committee is tasked with implementing the CSR programme at the ground level, and given the past few month’s experience, the committee is on course to implement our CSR plans fully.


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