Diversey MEA President talks sustainability

Somer Gündoğdu, president, MEA, Diversey speaks to Hotelier Middle East on preserving nature and providing a sustainable future

Somer Gündoğdu, president, MEA, Diversey
Somer Gündoğdu, president, MEA, Diversey

Food, security, health and prosperity…When all our livelihood and wellbeing depend on nature, how can we afford to ignore our responsibility towards protecting nature? According to the Living Planet Report 2018, it is estimated that nature provides services worth around US$125 trillion a year globally. Then, what do we give back to nature?

At Diversey, we believe that we have a responsibility to contribute towards preserving nature and providing a sustainable future to our next generations and deliver that promise through purposeful innovations that keep the industries we serve clean and hygienic. Having sustainability integrated within our operations has already helped us reduce greenhouse emissions by 24%, plastic waste by 32%, and water consumption by 14% in the last 10 years.

We also recently launched a comprehensive sustainability agenda called “Facilitators for Life” that have 12 aggressive goals to improve the environment, benefit society, and develop sustainable innovations to continue reducing our impact on nature from this point going forward.

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Water stewardship
The most critical natural resource is water. Only 1% of the global water supply is fit for human consumption and 2.1 billion people live without safe water at home. The need for action on water security has led Diversey to make water stewardship a central component of our sustainability goals and our ‘Facilitators for Life’ program. Our targets include reducing water use in our operations, quantifying and reducing water savings for our customers, and making water saving part of each innovation rolled out.

For example, we launched Clax Advanced – a low-temperature laundry system that reduces water consumption by up to 35% for the hospitality industry. We have also integrated water savings technologies like TASKI IntelliFlow in machines which reduces water up to 76% in floor cleaning when compared to traditional auto scrubbers.

Another innovation is Flush-me-not, a waterless urinal solution that eliminates water completely from urinals and saves up to 90% of water used in a urinal flush. In 2018 alone, approximately one billion litres of water was saved with Diversey’s water saving solutions in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) which is approximately equivalent to daily water need of more than 20 million people.

Energy is another crucial area that requires immediate focus and that we’ve been working on. For example, TASKI Aero is a new vacuum cleaner with an Eco Mode technology that reduces electricity consumption by 50%, but it is just as efficient and avoids noise pollution.

TASKI Aero alone reduced more than 7,000 tonnes of GHG emissions. Another example is again Clax Advanced laundry system. Diversey has helped customers reduce steam up to 40% and electricity by 15% due to low wash temperatures afforded by the technology.

In 2018, Diversey helped customers reduce their energy usage by more than six billion kwh in MEA, which is equivalent to annual energy need of approximately 2.5 million people. Again, in 2018, Diversey helped customers to reduce their CO2 emission by two tonnes by various Diversey solutions in MEA which is the same as taking more than 300 cars off the roads.

Plastic pollution has also been getting much attention lately with a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. While the problem will require many organisations to improve collection, infrastructure, and recycling, manufacturers have a responsibility to continually reduce their packaging footprint.

Diversey has been a leader in this effort for years by continually increasing the dilution rate of our chemistry, lowering the number of packaged cleaning products required to clean.

Our J-Flex/RTD dispensing system can reduce packaging by 98% when compared to ready to use products. The next generation integrated, portable dispenser, Smart Dose yields similar reductions in packaging, shipping, and carbon footprint. Also, our personal care product, Soft Care Sensations can replace up to 200 small plastic amenity bottles in hotels. In 2018, more than 400 tonnes of plastic was saved with Diversey solutions in MEA which is equivalent to more than eight million plastic bottles. If we place them end-to end, it would be approximately 2,000 km - which is equal to the distance between Dubai to Jeddah.

Diversey CSR Programmes
We also continue to focus on programmes that create shared value with customers, such as Soap for Hope and Linens for Life. These programmes not only contribute to significant environmental improvements, but also serve social good by improving the lives of others in the communities where we operate.

Today more than 2.5 billion people worldwide lack proper sanitation and it’s estimated that 400,000 babies die every year due to poor hand sanitation, mostly in underdeveloped countries. Meanwhile, a typical 400-room hotel generates 3.5 tonnes of solid soap waste every year.

The Soap for Hope programme collaborates with our hotel customers around the world to salvage used soap slivers, sanitise and recycle them into new soap bars for communities in need and improve livelihood. Since its launch in 2013, Soap for Hope has collected 3,800 metric tonnes of soap waste from 653 partner hotels and created nearly 32 million bars of new soap and the program grows in participation in every passing year.

Similarly, Diversey’s Linens for Life programmes was created to assist people displaced by natural disasters and reduce linen waste. Linens discarded by hotels are often just discarded as useless. Since 2011, Diversey has collected nearly 128 tonnes of linen, equivalent to 16,000 queen-size bedsheets, discarded by hotels for disaster relief and livelihood generation.

To summarise, Diversey is collectively committed to building a better and sustainable future. With our products and technologies, we contribute to a better future in a wide variety of areas; from water usage to food waste, from chemical usage to energy consumption, from greenhouse gas emissions to waste management. And our approximately 9,000 Diversey associates are truly committed to creating a sustainable future by innovation, knowledge and passion.

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