Case Study: Unilever



Myriam is leading one of the largest public health campaigns in the world – from inside one of the largest companies in the world. Together with a number of partners they are helping to stem disease by promoting a very simple solution: handwashing with soap.

Myriam is one of the only people in the world with a doctorate in public health focused on hand-washing with soap. She’s very very passionate about soap. So passionate that she gave an entire Ted talk on the topic just a few months ago. But, this isn’t a trivial issue. 6.5 million children each year never make it to their fifth birthday.

Diarrhea and Pneumonia are top killers of children under five and, yet, most of these deaths could be prevented simply by using soap. When Myriam finished her PhD, instead of going to work for an NGO or public sector agency, she chose to join Unilever. In her view, working with business is the best pathway to reaching people with information and access to this lifesaving product.

Since joining Unilever, Myriam has become an integral part of the Lifebuoy brand team. She’s helped the soap sales people to see the connections between their product and lives saved. Together with a number of partners, they are undertaking one of the largest public health campaigns in the world – and have reached 183 million people in 16 countries. In these countries, Unilever’s business has gone up and child mortality has gone down.

Myriam knows that for some this link between business and health is uncomfortable. But the results speak for themselves. For Myriam profit isn’t a dirty word; it’s saving lives.

Watch Myriam’s TED Talk about her work below…

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