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Since 2008, we’ve reduced the packaging of our menstrual pads by 14% in Europe. This is part of our broader ambition to do more with less. In producing a thinner product, we are able to optimize transport, storage and supermarket shelf space, in addition to producing a superior product for our consumers by measure of comfort and convenience.
As with all our products, we have approached the improvement of sanitary napkins from a life cycle assessment perspective. This means we track the resource and waste expenditure across the lifespan of a product, from sourcing fibers to consumer disposal. Our approach exposed us to the challenge of disposal, particularly for adolescents who weren’t comfortable disposing of pads in public or school restrooms. Just over a fifth of teenage girls who experience anxiety over attending school when they are menstruating say they worry their male peers will find out they’ve been having their period.
This insight led to the development of Roll.Press.Go. packaging on our sanitary towels, which can seal around the product after use to be disposed of hygienically and discretely. Improving the functionality of the packaging also plays a role in reducing waste, as the napkin would otherwise be wrapped in excess toilet tissue.
We are committed to breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation, both for young people in developed societies as well as more broadly across societies in which periods are considered even more of a taboo – where many are forcefully ostracized during the days they are menstruating. This aspect of human rights is essential for sustainable, fairer societies.
We are able to contribute to improved gender equality through our work educating adolescents about puberty by removing the taboos stemming from misinformation and superstition. Last year, we reached roughly 7.5 million adolescents in Mexico through our partnership with UNICEF to provide channels for more open conversations around respectful relationships – to assist in preventing domestic violence. Creating sustainable solutions in the personal care industry is an important aspect of our contribution to Sustainability Goals 5 (Gender Equality) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).
Examples of regional brands supported by Essity’s global brand platform in Feminine Care include Libresse in the Nordic region, Russia, Eastern Europe, the Netherlands and Malaysia, Bodyform in the UK, Nana in France, the Middle East and North Africa, and Saba and Nosotras in Latin America.