Boosting business: why investing in water, sanitation and hygiene pays off, is the first-of its kind pilot research project showing the potential financial returns of investing in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and why it is so beneficial for business.
Between 2018 and 2022, WaterAid, in collaboration with Diageo, Gap Inc., HSBC, Twinings and ekaterra (which was part of Unilever when this project started), conducted research across four countries. Data was collected from ten workplaces in four sectors – including tea estates in India and Kenya, apparel and leather supply chains in Bangladesh and India, and agricultural smallholder farmers in Tanzania.
The project showed the business benefits of investing in WASH – looking at the effect it has on absenteeism, productivity, attrition, punctuality and the number of medical incidents at each workplace. Each business had unique workplace nuances and factors to consider, so calculations were based on how much each benefit could be attributed to WASH at each location.
The results showed the following business benefits from the WASH intervention: Absenteeism decreased across the projects and the general health of employees and their families improved.