SCA’s Hygiene Matters 2014 consumer survey; Continued global need for increased access to hygiene products and knowledge

  • Press release

Hygiene Matters 2014 is the fourth global consumer survey commissioned by leading global hygiene and forest products company SCA. The aim is to raise awareness among decision makers, experts and the general public globally, of the connection between hygiene, health and wellbeing. SCA also aims to contribute to a more knowledge-based public dialogue that strengthens the possibility of improved hygiene for women, men and children everywhere. The theme of Hygiene Matters 2014 has been “Women and Hygiene”.

SCA aims to make a difference to people’s everyday life by providing sustainable personal care, tissue and forest products under many strong brands such as TENA, Tork, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo and Vinda. The 2014 Hygiene Matters survey results reinforce SCA’s determination to work even harder to meet women’s needs and desires when it comes to personal and intimate hygiene for themselves and their families. The Hygiene Matters 2014 consumer survey clearly shows that there are still unmet needs among women globally both when it comes to hygiene products and solutions, as well as raising knowledge about personal hygiene that could help combat taboos.

“This year’s Hygiene Matters survey results show that SCA’s work is relevant and there is still a lot to do for women’s access to hygiene products and solutions, and explaining the close link between hygiene and health. About 80 percent of SCA’s consumers are women. From a global perspective a majority of women and girls in the world still do not have access to personal care products such as menstrual hygiene protection,” explains Joséphine Edwall-Björklund, Senior Vice President, Group Function Communications, SCA.

“Furthermore many women and men don’t have access to incontinence care products. This does not only hold women back to be able to participate fully in society socially, educationally and professionally, it can also affect women’s health negatively in ways that are easily preventable. There is a clear connection with poor hygiene standards in public restrooms in for example work places, schools, hospitals, restaurants and airports and the spreading of germs and disease, resulting in high costs for private individuals, employers and society overall. As a leading global hygiene company, SCA can play an important role within this context both from a hygiene and health education perspective,” says Edwall-Björklund.

“Women’s possibilities to develop and live their lives to the fullest, are often dependent on access to, and information about, good hygiene. This is clearly expressed in SCA’s sustainability ambitions and is also a key dimension of our business strategy. The survey clearly reveals that female consumers believe that there is room for improvement in many areas related to hygiene and health in both mature and emerging markets. For SCA, this is much more than a business opportunity. This way of thinking is deeply ingrained in our corporate culture,” comments Kersti Strandqvist, Senior Vice President, Group Function Sustainability, SCA.

The results in this year’s Hygiene Matters survey show that it is clear that women continue to play a crucial role as change agents. Especially in the developing world when they are placed at the center of decisions about water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion programs and activities.

“As a company whose products such as TENA, Tork, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo and Vinda, touch many people during different phases in life, SCA has a history of solid community engagement. Although our business today is global our perspective is local, embracing small-scale collaborations around the world.  SCA’s support is often sought after for our thought leadership, knowledge, insight, and innovation in health and hygiene matters. These initiatives can include anything from conducting training programs to breaking taboos to distributing sanitary pads in refugee camps. In fact, locally supported community involvement is a part of our business strategy,” says Edwall-Björklund.

“SCA supports a large number of educational initiatives for girls regarding menstruation and physical development in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Malaysia, Russia and other markets. Colombia was the first market to start in 1990 and since then about 2 million girls have participated. These initiatives are linked to SCA’s brands Libresse, Saba, Nosotras and Donnasept,” says Strandqvist. “Our goal is not to take over the role of civil society, but to contribute in fields where we have our core competence and interests. This creates a foundation for long-term efforts and real, measurable effects.”

“How SCA is participating with the female Team SCA in the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, is yet another way of promoting the message of women’s possibilities to fully take part in society. This offshore marathon is one of the sporting world’s most challenging events. By making it possible for our female Team SCA to participate with the same backup as men, we hope to contribute to breaking the glass ceiling in yet another area of society,” Edwall-Björklund concludes.

 “It’s quite incredible: we celebrate birth, yet have a very hard time talking about menstruation and this year’s Hygiene Matters consumer survey confirms that fact again,” says Dr. Christopher Williams, Executive Director of the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council, the only United Nations body devoted solely to improving sanitation and hygiene in developing countries. “This taboo is radically harmful to women, especially young girls, in developing countries. They miss from one to four days of school per month, suffer discomfort in seclusion, face unnecessary health risks, and feel ashamed about disposing pads, if they even have them. We must work together to ensure that women and girls around the world are able to manage menstruation inside and outside the home with dignity, and we support efforts to gather an evidence base for decision makers.”

The Hygiene Matters Consumer Survey

SCA took the initiative to the first Hygiene Matters survey in 2008 to channel the voice of the consumer. The results in the four surveys to date contain valuable information on a global and local level that can contribute to a more knowledge-based public dialogue with the aim to improve hygiene standards globally. Improved public and individual hygiene standards will have positive effects on people’s health, while creating value by lowering costs on both a personal and societal level.

The answers in the 2014 survey show that SCA’s continued initiatives to educate and facilitate solutions for improved hygiene are important. There is still room for improvement on access to hygiene products and solutions, as well as to knowledge explaining the close link between hygiene and health.

In 2014, the three main focus areas of the survey were:

  • Hygiene in public places and concerns about becoming ill due to poor hygiene
  • The menstruation taboo
  • Hygiene is important and the internet is a growing information source regarding hygiene and health

The main findings of the survey were:

  • Both men and women believe good hygiene standards are important and worry about becoming ill from poor hygiene in public places
  • Individuals to take greater responsibility
  • Governments and employers to improve hygiene standards
  • Women extra effected during menstruation due to taboos and lack of hygiene products
  • Internet growing as information source

Here SCA plays an important role with its personal hygiene products, services, as well as education.

The survey was carried out during May 2014, commissioned by SCA and conducted by the business intelligence firm United Minds and the research company Cint. The survey was conducted in 13 countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, The Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States. The countries added from the 2011 report were: Brazil, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Omitted from the 2014 report was Australia.

Responses were compiled through a web-based survey, and a total of 13,492 respondents. Approximately 500 women and 500 men were surveyed on each market. National quotas have been used to obtain accurate age representation.

The survey results mentioned is this press release are mainly from a global perspective. More country specific results for Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, The Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States will be communicated by SCA locally.

Hygiene Matters 2014 Consumer Study Presentation, Infographic and Film

For further information, please contact:
Elisabeth Lennhede, Press contact, +46 70 444 22 71
Marita Sander, Communications Director Sustainability, +46 70 547 53 34
Joséphine Edwall-Björklund, SVP, Group Function Communications, +46 70 519 16 98