Unused or barely used soap bars from hotels generate tons of solid waste on a yearly basis. SB corporate member Diversey saw this as an opportunity - not only to prevent waste from reaching landfills, but also to help communities in need.
Stefan Phang, Diversey’s Global Director for Creating Shared Value, started the Soap for Hope (tm) program as a bridge to connect the gap that he noticed between the idea of luxury that hotels represent, and the poverty that lays just outside. The objective of the program is to address both the waste reduction needs of hotel chains and to provide support to communities that lack basic sanitation services in rural and underdeveloped areas, which account for up to two billion people. The support is given by providing access to soap - in line with Diversey’s Saving Lives objective - and by training the community to recycle discarded hotel soaps as a source and opportunity of income - in line with the Providing livelihood objective.
Soap bars are collected from Diversey hotel customers and are re-processed and repurposed using a cold-press method, which requires no running water or energy and therefore can be easily replicated in underprivileged communities. Diversey provides the manufacturing equipment needed for the cold- method process, with the goal of creating a manufacturing station anywhere in the world. As a part of the program, volunteers collaborate with local schools to add an educational element through teaching children how to effectively wash their hands. Involving different generations contributes to the overall engagement and success of the program.
Since its launch in 2013, 800 hotels in 44 countries and 183 cities have participated in the Soap for Hope (tm) program, diverting 4,169 tons of solid soap waste from landfills, and re-producing and distributing more than 34.8 million soap bars to over 1.5 million people.
In addition, Soap for Hope (tm) has helped Diversey to meet its’ own organizational goals - personifying the company culture, strengthening purpose, and deepening the company’s relationship with customers.
Click here to watch the Soap for Hope (tm) video and to learn more about how the program conveys a meaningful way to dispose of hotel solid waste.