Kohler Co. has been presented with a 2018 Mahatma Award for Social Good for its “Innovation for Good” (IfG) efforts. Laura Kohler, Senior Vice President-Human Resources, Stewardship & Sustainability for Kohler Co., accepted the award on behalf of IfG and Kohler Co. in New York City during the recently held UN General Assembly.
The Mahatma Awards for Social Good spotlight changemakers and are awarded annually to individuals or organizations committed to addressing complex social issues like safe water, sanitation, disease, poverty and hunger.
Kohler’s Innovation for Good program is an innovation incubator focused on developing and implementing sustainable business solutions to address some of the most pressing problems related to safe water, safe sanitation and reliable power. The IFG team catalyzes new ideas for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6, 7 and 12 by bringing together Kohler associates and business leaders from various functions across the company and around the world to incubate and implement breakthrough solutions to real-world problems.
“What makes Innovation for Good successful – more importantly, enduring – is that it is truly a win-win initiative,” said Laura Kohler. “Our goal is to leverage our company knowledge and resources and then introduce solutions through financially sustainable business models with support from our global network of social enterprise partners and impact-minded thought leaders.”
One such IfG endeavor is the KOHLER Clarity water filter that provides safe drinking water to those who need it most. By filtering out more than 99% of bacteria and protozoa, it provides up to 40 liters of safe water each day – enough for a small family. Kohler has distributed over 150,000 Clarity units to communities all over the world who did not have access to safe drinking water, including a focused effort in Puerto Rico in partnership with Operation Agua following Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The Mahatma Award was presented to Kohler during the Non-Government Organization (NGO) Expo. Held annually during the UN General Assembly, the NGO Expo unites a community of global citizens, non-profit organizations, government, social entrepreneurs and socially-responsible companies.
Laura Kohler participated in a plenary session titled Impact Economy and the Role of Non-Profits, Corporations, Foundations and NGOs that highlighted the importance of public private partnerships and the role all sectors have in driving sustainable development across the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, she commented on the progress Kohler Co. has made addressing SDG 6, 7 and 12 and the need for continued partnerships to provide sustainable solutions.
“We all know the more we collaborate, the greater our learnings,” said Kohler. “Each of the choices we make – the environmental policies we develop, the innovative products we produce, the communities we serve – have a ripple effect. And when we join forces, the effect we have on the lives of others can be even more profound.”