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EDANA sustainability

Where next for sustainability?

Gil Stevens and Susan Iliefski Janols of Essity discuss the outlook for sustainable business practices

At a time when sustainable business practices face increasing scrutiny, EDANA's
External Relations & Sustainability Director, Gil Stevens, caught up with Susan Iliefski Janols, VP Product Sustainability at Essity, to review the opportunities and challenges on the horizon

You are joining us at OUTLOOK to look at UN sustainable development goals. What do you think was the biggest single driver in developing the goals?

As consumers we need to make sustainable choices, nations need to support a sustainable life style and companies must help customers and consumers with sustainable products and services. Delivering on the SDGs will improve the world and create business opportunities for the companies that participate.  

Which of the goals do you believe to be the most achievable? And which will we achieve first?

We at Essity are committed to overcoming the global challenges and have chosen to prioritize the SDG:s 3, 5, 6, 12, 13 and 15 as they are most relevant to our business. We believe that the work aimed at fulfilling the SDGs will improve the world and at the same create business opportunities. For Essity this means that we have a great chance to contribute in the fields of hygiene, health and sanitation, where we have a lot of expertise.  

How do you balance an economic model focused on growth with aims of sustainability?

For Essity sustainability is fully integrated in our business model and has always been a business driver for us. We launched 41 innovations last year that improved our customer and consumer offering. Essity bases the innovation work on understanding, knowledge and insights about the needs of consumers and customers. It is about increasing the value while improving the environmental performance. Resource efficiency is an area that often combines financial and environmental perspectives and that makes it easier. New circular business models call for creative and different thinking and that is more challenging both for nations and companies, but it is possible. You need to start small, test, evaluate and learn when you address new areas.   

Much of the responsibility for enacting measures aimed at ensuring the goals will fall on companies and individuals. How can companies contribute?

Our approach is to address areas where we have our strengths as we are most likely make a difference and contribute here. To be relevant and achieve the best outcome Essity have chosen to work specifically with the goals that are closest to our area of expertise and business. That is why we last year educated more than 2.5 million people about hygiene and health.  

At Essity we strive to supply our customers and consumers with responsible and resource efficient solutions, products and knowledge and to raise hygiene and health standards around the world.  

What innovation or approaches to sustainability excite you most?

At Essity we are passionate about innovations where we can combine products and services that improves sustainability during use. We create new opportunities in meeting customer needs when we together go beyond products. Examples are:  

  • TENA Solutions, an integrated offering including innovative products, best practice care, tools, training and expert support. The advantages include improved well-being for the residents, better working environment, a reduction in resource consumption and waste as well as overall lower cost.
  • Tork EasyCube, a service to improve efficiency and communication through sensors in facilities measure visitor traffic and refill levels of hand towels and toilet paper, giving real-time information to facility managers and cleaning teams and helping them optimize their cleaning routines. With 24% less cleaning rounds (with quality improved) and at least 20% time saved through data-driven cleaning, the system allows for a better handling of paper resources and waste management.
At OUTLOOK 2018, as part of a session on sustainability and the circular economy, Susan will present on sustainable business development inspired by the United Nations sustainable development goals
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