Learn about Sanita's corporate social responsibility and commitment to the community and environment in a case study featured in CSR Lebanon's Responsible Business Magazine, the Middle East magazine for sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The Jan - March 2013 Issue, featuring the Sanita article on page 58 - 59, is now on sale at bookstores throughout the Middle East.
By Gacia Apikian - INDEVCO Group
Imagine soft clean sand under your feet, cool clear water lapping against the shore, and a peaceful Lebanon, where a drive into the mountains features nature over trash and billboards.
With the country reaching a peak of uncleanliness and disorganization, Sanita refuses to abandon its dream for Lebanon, a large part of which relates to the integrity and hygiene of our surroundings.
While Sanita’s leading brands of personal care, household, and institutional products are known regionally few are aware of Sanita’s raison d’être. Like other INDEVCO companies, Sanita was founded to meet a basic need in the community: the urgent need for hygiene disposables products in the late 1970s.
Since its establishment, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been an integral part of Sanita’s strategy and business model, continuously spreading positive messages in times of need. Bassam Khoueiry, Sanita Deputy General Manager, explains, “Based on INDEVCO’s mission, I believe, as a company, our responsibility extends two ways: the internal, focusing on securing a brighter future through a clear career path for every one of our employees; and the external, maintaining and strengthening our good relationships with both the consumers and the community, as well as striving to make a better environment. When the environment is harmed, so is our community and indirectly our consumers, and this is why we (Sanita) aim to always pioneer environmental initiatives.”
Community Activism: For a Stronger Lebanon
Sanita plays an active role in the community regularly launching national campaigns to increase environmental awareness. In line with one of the key environmental campaigns, ‘Ta Ydal El Hala Enna’, Sanita sponsors and works with large clean-up initiatives to help bring back Lebanon’s natural beauty and to educate Lebanese citizens about eco-friendly hygiene.
Since 1997, Sanita has annually co-sponsored ‘Operation Big Blue’ National Beach & Sea Cleaning Campaign. In 2008, it also sponsored ‘Clean Up the Med’ campaign a 21-country Mediterranean initiative focused on responsible citizenship. Furthermore, the company launched ‘1.2.Tree’campaign during the Lebanon Development Marketplace 2005, encouraging planting across Lebanon.
During clean-up initiatives, Sanita donates biodegradable trash bags and recyclable trash bins, as well as other hygiene disposable products for waste removal. Furthermore, executives and employees volunteer, investing time and effort to remove garbage from Lebanese shores and streets, while distributing flyers, stickers, and educational materials. The company holds nationwide health and hygiene awareness programs, such as trash segregation and recycling campaigns in universities and in over 1400 Lebanese schools.
Sanita distributes products and pamphlets and promotes idea generation from students and the community for a better environment.
Furthermore, as a corporate citizen, Sanita undertakes waste management initiatives at its manufacturing plants in Halat and Zouk Mosbeh, sorting waste and sending paper waste back into production of recycled pulp.
When developing CSR initiatives, Sanita evaluates existing economical and political issues in the country to ensure that campaigns communicate out the right messages at the right time.
In November 2008, Sanita launched the ‘Shouf Halak bi Lebnan’ TV campaign to stir a sense of nationalism and belonging prior to Lebanese Independence Day. Every year since, the campaign spreads messages of unity, faith, and attachment to Lebanese identity and roots.
In 2006, following the July war, Sanita launched the ‘T3alak bi Baladak’ campaign on TV, calling on Lebanese to stay in the country and not abandon their dreams.
In the 1990s, as the civil war came to an end, a dire need to boost Lebanese morale arose. As the fire fueling political turmoil slowly died down, Sanita shared its vision for a beautiful and prosperous Lebanon.
Sanita launched the ‘Ktishfo Daya3na’ campaign, in an effort to promote internal tourism. Sanita distributed pamphlets and broadcasted TV documentaries about different Lebanese villages.
Furthermore, the ‘Akhi Loubnani Moustakbalouka Sone3 Yadeyka’ and ‘Ouwetna Wehdetna’ campaigns promoted active participation in the reconstruction of Lebanon and encouraged Lebanese unity after 3 decades of being divided.
In the mid-1980s, citizens had begun to use U.S. dollars as the main currency, due to a lack of trust in the Lebanese pound. In order to support the economy and boost the Lebanese currency, Sanita launched the ‘La2annaha 3omlatouna w Li2annana Nahtam’ campaign.
Product Development: A Greener Community
As a manufacturer, Sanita is developing sustainable hygiene disposable products to help the public go green.
Since the mid-1990s, Sanita has manufactured sustainable recycled tissue products for institutions and restaurants ready to go green. In line with market readiness in 2011, Sanita launched the Natura brand of 100% and partially-recycled facial and toilet tissue disposables, as well as table napkins for consumers.
In 2011-2012, Sanita launched a new line of oxo-biodegradable (OBD) d2w tie and trash bags, as well as polywrap to pack its tissue products. OBD bags completely decompose in three years without harming the environment and without emitting methane or odors.
Corporate Responsibility... Not an Obligation
At the heart of every country is its youth, the promise of a better, brighter future. Sanita’s responsibility program focuses on creating over 800 jobs in rural areas to reduce migration to Beirut. The Lebanese manufacturer also supports over 300 disabled centers and provides job opportunities to people with disabilities.
Additionally, Sanita supports and offers donations to non-profit community-based organizations, educational institutions, scouts, parishes, municipalities, and community associations. Some recipients include Caritas, Lebanese Red Cross, and Scout du Liban.
A Comprehensive CSR Approach and Mission
Sanita is working to develop a comprehensive approach to its corporate social responsibility. Corporate citizenship is an incremental part of its mission, strategy and goals. This is in line with INDEVCO Group’s mission: “What is good for the community is good for the company”, a philosophy that resonates with and shapes each member of Sanita’s team.