Domestos is South Africa’s market leading toilet cleaner and a Unilever Global Business Brand. Unilever is the market leader in 14 of the 17 categories in which it operates in South Africa, with a product range that includes foods, home care, and personal care brands, such as Domestos. From 2008-2015, nine of Unilever’s products won Product of the Year awards. Domestos is a powerful, quick-acting bleach sold all over the world. The brand is active in its sustainability work to extend access to toilets in disadvantaged parts of the world.
Opportunity for Creating Shared Value
35% of the world’s population has no access to basic sanitation. Poor sanitation causes diseases – particularly diarrhoea, which kills one child every two minutes. Thorough research reveals that almost half of the South African public doesn’t have access to adequate sanitation and nowhere is the crisis more evident than in South African schools. Approximately 8 000 schools out of 27 000 schools in South Africa are equipped with flushing toilets and regular access to clean and running water. The impact: the average South African student misses almost 70% of their school days due to sickness.
Domestos began renovating and installing school toilets in 2014. In 2016, the project escalated through a partnership with UNICEF. Through this partnership the project has received further credibility and distinction. Domestos is a global brand and therefore the only toilet cleaner that could legitimately partner with global relief agency UNICEF to aid the sanitation crisis gripping the world today. In early 2016, Domestos added the UNICEF’s logo and a ‘call to action’ on to the front of all Domestos bottles. 5% of the proceeds of every Domestos bottle purchased is donated to the Domestos and UNICEF project, BRIGHTER FUTURE. Sanitation issues, once taboo topics, are now directly linked to the Domestos Brand Narrative, as is the brand’s commitment to global health and education.
With the initiation of the UNICEF partnership and the public ‘call-to-action’ to aid in addressing the sanitation crisis, Domestos secured supply, improved profitability and maintained and extended its position as South Africa’s market-leading toilet cleaner. In 2016 alone, Domestos generated R7.5 million for UNICEF and was declared as Unilever SA’s fastest growing brand.
No other sanitation initiative in the country can compare to the reach and scale of this programme, which has improved education, improved health and increased job creation. So far, 660 schools have benefitted from the programme and school attendance has improved to well over 90%. Additional beneficiaries of the programme are the hundreds of janitors stationed at these schools to help educate the students about toilet hygiene and maintenance. This job creation is welcomed in these communities. With employment and adequate sanitation, Domestos is creating an environment in which people can thrive. There are less diseases spreading from schools to homes resulting in happier, healthier and more functional communities.
Lessons Learned, Challenges and Future Growth
The sanitation crisis is still a crisis. There are thousands of schools that require help and investment. Domestos and UNICEF are committed to continue doing good business while doing good until every child in South Africa’s schools has access to clean water, toilets and education. Domestos is committed to help 25 million people gain access to adequate sanitation by 2020.