European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards 2018 winner - Essity

3rd of April 2019
European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards 2018 winner - Essity

It might sound obvious, but true sustainability on the part of any company requires a sustained approach. At least this is the view of Essity, which won the European Cleaning & Hygiene Award 2018 for Sustainability – Best Practice in November 2018.

In order to be truly sustainable it is no longer enough for a company to simply produce glossy reports and impress customers with its business ethics.
True sustainability requires a continuous and lifelong approach - and it also needs to be reflected in the company’s day-to-day operations. This is certainly the view of Essity which came away with the European Cleaning & Hygiene Award 2018 for Sustainability – Best Practice in November 2018.

“Sustainability is a vital part of our daily work,” confirmed communications director Renee Remijnse. “Winning this award is about inspiring other companies to invest in sustainability and to share our best practices to engender cooperation and new ideas.”

Essity works with a number of global sustainability partnerships including the United Nations Foundation, WSSCC, Ellen McArthur and the Global Handwashing Partnership. But the company’s most headline-grabbing sustainability innovation in recent years has been Tork PaperCircle, described by the company as the world’s first recycling service for paper hand towels.

Tork PaperCircle involves taking the customer’s used paper towels away to a local recycling facility and turning them into products such as toilet tissue and couch rolls. And the service is said to potentially reduce a customer’s carbon footprint for hand towels by 40 per cent.

“We are particularly proud of Tork PaperCircle because it takes so many people, customers and logistics to make it work,” said Remijnse. “Everyone needs to pull together and it gives us great energy and pride to see the rewards that come from being bold and brave and working together for sustainable outcomes.”

Tork PaperCircle is currently in operation in Germany and the Netherlands and the company has plans to roll it out more widely. “We are working on many levels to achieve this,” said Remijnse. “For example, we are focusing on increasing our customer base and we’re also adding two more countries - Belgium and Sweden. And we’ve had many interested parties from all over the world visiting our mills and expect to see some great new collaborations arising from these visits.”

A key part of Essity’s sustainability policy is to manufacturer paper and soap systems that are designed to reduce waste and over-consumption at end-user level.

“We are very proud of our waste reducing systems,” said Remijnse. “For example, customers who install the Tork SmartOne system can reduce the amount of paper they use by up to 40 per cent –a saving that really adds up.”

The company places a strong focus on people and this is another area in which Essity stands out, she adds. “For example, we are working globally on breaking taboos around the topic of hygiene and we’re sharing our hygiene knowledge and research via the Essentials Initiative,” she said. “We also use ergonomic packaging, increased work efficiency and hygiene education tools to bring tangible benefits to people. And we want to inspire others to join the United Nations SDGs and be frontrunners in terms of circularity.”

Meanwhile, Essity is working with the Fotografiska museum to highlight hygiene issues through photography exhibitions. “We have also published white papers based on research we’ve carried out on school hygiene in several countries,” said Remijnse. “And through our Tork brand we work to improve sustainability with product innovations, education and the smart use of resources.”

Essity was founded in 2017 and was originally part of SCA, with the company tracing its roots back to 19th century Sweden. Essity currently operates in around 150 countries worldwide and this is its first European Cleaning & Hygiene Award.

“Winning is something to celebrate because it tells us that our peers, stakeholders and customers appreciate our efforts,” said Remijnse. “Our colleagues in all departments including production, sales, marketing and customer service feel tremendous pride in receiving this award – and without them we wouldn’t be able to go that extra mile.”

European Cleaning & Hygiene Award judge and ECJ editor Michelle Marshall adds: “Sustainability clearly runs through the heart of Essity. Its work goes well beyond the cleaning sector and 42 per cent of its innovations yield social and/or environmental improvements.”

The 2019 European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards are now open for entry. Visit to find out more.


Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited