PISCATAWAY, NJ: American Standard is celebrating the 14th annual World Toilet Day by expanding its Flush for Good initiative, which focuses on providing more than 20 million people around the globe with safer sanitation facilities by 2020.
World Toilet Day was originally established by the World Toilet Organization in 2001, and recognized in 2013 by the United Nations as an official international day. The 2015 World Toilet Day campaign aims to stop the 2,000 deaths that occur every day from diseases caused by lack of access to proper sanitation facilities. There are currently 2.5 billion people globally without access to safe sanitation facilities.
Jeannette Long, American Standard’s VP of brand marketing, told PRWeek that it is a daily mission for the company to raise awareness of this issue, and one of its biggest objectives.
"This is something so connected to the mission of American Standard – to improve daily living," Long said.
American Standard is currently field testing three new models of its patented SaTo (Safe Toilet) products in Rwanda to help eliminate the transmission of disease and odors from traditional open-pit latrines. The company plans to expand field testing to Uganda and Kenya in the coming months, Long said. Execution of the field tests by American Standard is being facilitated by UNICEF.
The field tests mark American Standard’s latest efforts to improve global sanitation conditions – an area the company has been committed to since 2012. The company developed its first SaTo pan in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2013, American Standard launched its Flush for Good campaign, pledging the donation of 1.2 million SaTo toilet pans to developing countries, impacting 5 million lives. As part of that campaign, between 2013 and 2014, for every Champion toilet sold, American Standard donated a sanitary toilet pan to a developing country.
"We are no longer running the buy one/get one portion of that campaign because NGOs have to find homes for the 1.2 million donated toilets," said Long. "We do not want to flood a market with products that aren’t needed, so we have paused the marketing campaign to allow the installation side to catch up."
More than 800,000 pans have been installed in Bangladesh, Uganda, Haiti, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, and the Philippines, she said.
"From a business perspective, we believe there is value in trying to build a sustainable business behind this and not just through pure donations," said Long. "Helping to build local market and distribution systems is what we see as the next step in this type of business."
To further communicate about their efforts and also spread word about this issue, on Wednesday, American Standard sponsored a business-to-business focused Twitter chat to raise awareness among designers and remodelers who do kitchens and baths.
"We did the Twitter chat to engage the design community on some of the efforts happening around the world that they may not be aware of," Long said. "We want people to participate any way they can."
Long explained that it is difficult for the general public to find a direct way to help with this problem. So American Standard highlights different sanitation programs and organizations that they can contribute to, such as NGOs the company is partnered with including BRAC, WaterAid, Save the Children, Water for People, Plumbers Without Borders, UNICEF, and Food for the Poor.
On Thursday, an American Standard representative addressed a seminar on global sanitation at the School of Nursing of the University of Pennsylvania.
Internally, American Standard celebrated World Toilet Day with a party that included a toilet-adorned cake.
"On [World Toilet Day] employees have an opportunity to reflect on and be grateful for the sanitation that we do have and reflect on what other people are not able to experience," Long said.
PR firm O'Reilly DePalma has been assisting American Standard with comms around its sanitation safety initiatives since 2012.