Access to high-quality hygiene, health and nutrition is a universal right, reads Reckitt’s latest Social Impact Investment Report. The report further states that the main lesson from climate change and COVID-19 pandemic is that our shared future depends on us coming together as a global community.
What is Social Impact Investment Report?
Social Impact Investment Report is a look back at Reckitt’s achievements by investing in causes that improve the access to hygiene, health and nutrition for millions of people. Over the last three years, Reckitt has invested the equivalent of £103M for these achievements in the focus areas of Clean Water, Hygiene & Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health and Sexual Rights and Equity.
Reckitt’s CEO Chief Executive Officer, Laxman Narasimhan explains,
If we are to build a sustainable future, we must address our social challenges. Despite significant progress, billions of people still live without access: to clean water and sanitation; to maternal care; to sexual rights – worsened for a great many by the pandemic. I believe we are uniquely placed to help meet these challenges. We have a voice in billions of homes, and partnerships in communities all over the world. By bringing people together and changing behaviours, we can build long-term, sustainable change – as part of our fight to make access to the highest quality hygiene, wellness, and nourishment a right, not a privilege.
Mr Narasimhan further says that last year, Reckitt committed the equivalent of 1 per cent of net profit over three years to social impact investments. Reckitt worked in 50 countries including India, Nigeria, South Africa, among others, with 12 partners.
Highlights Of The Report Among the Following Focus Areas:
1. Clean Water, Hygiene and Sanitation
Providing access to adequate sanitation and proper hygiene, helping communities stay safe and free from disease. In the last three years, Reckitt has helped over 22.3 million people with better access to water and sanitation, by investing over £21 Million across various initiatives. With this, 6,63,000 schools are now providing hygiene education to children.
In India, NDTV and Dettol India’s Banega Swasth campaign has been embedding hygiene as a pillar of health since 2014. This project’s school component, where students are provided with access to hygiene education with interactive communication techniques as well as improved hygiene and handwashing facilities, has seen exceptional success. It expanded to cover 75 per cent of primary schools in India, reaching 20 million children from the most in-need communities, and reducing absenteeism by 39 per cent. Furthermore, as per the report, the project has reduced diarrhoea rates among children by 14.6 per cent.
2. Maternal and Child Health
With Reckitt’s efforts in improving access to care and support before, during and after pregnancy, 11 lakh new mothers had better access to care. The firm did so by partnering and supporting various organisations on ground like UN Population Fund and Plan International, among others. As per the report, over £4.1 million were invested across various initiatives that helped increase women choosing facility-based deliveries by 26 per cent.
In India, with the partner Plan International, Reckitt started a nutrition programme called Reach Each Child which focussed on the first 1,000 days of life for new mothers in the country. This project prioritises adequate nutrition for children within the first 1,000 days of life through locally-led initiatives, with community nutrition workers being key suppliers of information and services.
As per the report, the programme has reached 72,700 children under five and has provided cash assistance to 161 families to pay for the treatment of malnourishment. Reach Each Child supported 8,000 pregnant women through multiple interventions and helped 91 per cent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding.
There’s been a significant impact on families, and there have been no malnutrition deaths among supported children in the 2 years of the programme. An independent evaluation found Reach Each Child generated a social return on investment of 1:37. Beyond the programme, there has been an increased uptake of services and trust in existing government services, through education and referrals, the report states.
3. Sexual Rights and Equality
By supporting programmes that improve access to sexual education and services, empowering women to take control of their bodies, their health and their lives, Reckitt has helped 17 lakh young people with improved access to knowledge on sexual rights.
As per the report, the company invested £2.2m across various initiatives that also helped 3.2 lakh people across the world with improved quality of life.
4. Climate Change
Reckitt was the principal partner to the UK Government as well as the official hygiene partner at COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. As a principal partner, the firm hosted four blue and two green zone events, where world experts discussed critical issues relating to climate change. Furthermore, the firm developed comprehensive hygiene protocols, whilst supplying Dettol products to help protect attendees against rising COVID-19 cases. Reckitt distributed 30,000 hygiene kits to the attendees and over 700 hand sanitisers.
According to Patty O’Hayer, Global Head of Government Affairs and Social Impact Partnerships, Reckitt, their investments have directly engaged 30 million people across 50 countries, and have impacted four times as many people in 2021 than in 2020.
As per the report, in 2021, Reckitt is four years ahead of 2025 goal of investing the equivalent of 1 per cent adjusted operating profit over three years, by investing in 50 countries around the world. The firm invests 2.4 times more in social impact than its peers within the Business for Social Impact (B4SI) framework, where various businesses invest for social causes.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.