As a global leader in hygiene and health, Essity has attracted a great deal of interest in its ambitious sustainability work, which is integrated into every part of the business. Susan Iliefski Janols and her team have global responsibility for sustainability in terms of innovations, products and services within Essity.

Q: Tell us about Essity’s sustainability work!

“It all begins with our corporate social responsibility, based on our desire to ensure the well-being of those who use our products and services – everything from nappies, personal care products and incontinence products to toilet paper, professional hygiene and medical device solutions. We share our knowledge and have worked in partnership with the UN for many years, as part of which Essity maintains an active dialogue on hygiene and health, and how we can make a difference and break down barriers to promote increased well-being. Initiatives include educating teenage girls about menstruation and care workers about incontinence. Another part of our sustainability work focuses on reducing the environmental impact of our products and services. By integrating life cycle assessments into our innovation work, we are able to measure improvements to the eco-profile of our innovations. A prime example is TENA Pants, where we have managed to cut the climate footprint of the products by a third since 2008.”

Q: How can you contribute to a more circular society?

“Our ambition is to develop products and services that help towards a circular society. Over the long term, for example, all our packaging is to become recyclable, and we want to increase the proportion of renewable or recycled material. We have long used recovered fibre in some of our tissue products. We also help our customers to become more sustainable and circular. Under the Tork brand, we have several paper dispensers that reduce consumption. We have also developed Tork PaperCircle – the world’s first recycling service for paper towels.”

Q: Why should young engineers choose Essity?

“Essity offers many exciting development opportunities and committed and driven colleagues all over the world. Our culture is defined by huge consideration for people’s hygiene and health needs, and for the environment. As an engineer, you can work on everything from responsible purchasing and resource-efficient production to sustainable innovations. Recent years have seen me concentrating on sustainability issues, but before that I worked in product development, research, and product safety and the environment.”

Name: Susan Iliefski Janols 
Title: Vice President Sustainability Products & Services. 
Education: Mechanical Engineer, Chalmers University of Technology, graduated in 1988.  
What drives you in your work? “My colleagues and I work on issues that are vital for the future. Our sustainability goals contribute not only to Essity’s strategic objectives, but also the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals.”