LIXIL is dedicated to fostering a profound sense of purpose by prioritizing various environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
Doing so means moving from business as usual to a less traveled path, similar to the act of "painting outside the lines." It transcends manufacturing and actually reaches into the core of why we do it. Leveraging the longstanding 20-year partnership with the American Supply Association, LIXIL can leverage the relationship to help fulfill our purpose of "making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere."
Kurt Raabe, leader, U.S. sales, LIXIL Americas Trade Sales, currently represents LIXIL on the ASA Vender Member Division Advisory Council.
“In light of the shifting landscape, our customers, communities, suppliers, shareholders and employees are increasingly endorsing decisions and behaviors that align with their values and seek out companies that demonstrate a resolute, unwavering commitment to making a clear and positive impact on the world,” he said.
“LIXIL is grappling with an issue I believe affects all manufacturing organizations: how do we balance profitability with doing the right thing? We are part of so many initiatives that make me a proud employee — we are much more than a manufacturer of toilets and sinks. As an ASA advisory council member, my goal is to work with like-minded individuals who want to shine a light on all the good work being done around the world by the manufacturing industry.”
The way that LIXIL works to provide affordable sanitation and hygiene for all comes to life with its SATO project.
“I’m so proud that our SATO team designs affordable, sustainable and accessible products to improve sanitation and hygiene for consumers around the world,” said Kelly Safis, leader, sales, LIXIL Americas. “Ten years ago, in our workshop in New Jersey, a group of engineers created a prototype that will put us on track to improve sanitation and hygiene for 100 million consumers around the globe by 2025 – that is purposeful work in action.”
LIXIL’s commitment to sanitation can also be found in projects around the United States, specifically in Alabama. In 2016, Troy Benavidez, leader, LIXIL Public Partners, recognized the potential value LIXIL could bring to solving the sanitation crisis faced in the rural southern community of Lowndes County, Alabama. Over the last several years, he has engaged with government, academic and other public and private institutions to develop an integrated solution to help the community.
“The team has spent countless hours of time engaging the community stakeholders, working alongside partners such as IWSH (IAPMO), and adapting the technology and approach to ‘experiment and learn’ and improve the lives of these families,” Benavidez said. “We plan to use the solutions that we found in Alabama and expand it to additional communities.”
The invaluable support of plumbers worldwide is indispensable for accomplishing a significant portion of this purposeful work. Nonetheless, a pressing issue that poses challenges for LIXIL and ASA membership is the deep-seated labor shortage within the skilled trades in the United States.
To tackle this concern, LIXIL's TradeUp Initiative mirrors ASA's PROJECT TALENT initiative, aimed at attracting and empowering a new generation of skilled laborers.
Initially established in collaboration with a handful of trade schools in the New Jersey region, LIXIL's TradeUp Initiative has rapidly evolved and expanded nationwide within the past year.
Recognizing the indispensable role of the plumbing community, Vinny Arnese, leader of service and outreach at LIXIL Americas, emphasized: "The successful integration of our products into homes and businesses relies heavily on the support of the plumbing community. We are actively partnering with our valued customers, educational institutions and businesses to raise awareness about this often underestimated yet highly rewarding career path."
"In today's society, the alternative path of entering the trades is often overlooked," noted Vince Arnese, leader of service and outreach at LIXIL Americas.
Arnese further emphasized, "Through our partnership with ASA, we can harness the industry-wide collective energy to find and nurture this talent.”
LIXIL recognizes the importance of challenging preconceived notions regarding the stereotypical image of a plumber. We are committed to fostering inclusivity and have developed multiple initiatives aimed at opening up the field of plumbing to women. As part of these efforts, we have formed a partnership with the organization Tools and Tiaras, dedicated to introducing young girls to the trades as a viable career choice. LIXIL is hosting two camps this summer at our facilities in New Jersey, providing young girls with an immersive experience and an introduction to the possibilities of a plumbing career.
Several LIXIL employees have taken this initiative one step further with the publication of a book that aims to inspire young children to get into the trades – “Tubby Time.”
“Here’s hoping this book inspires young girls to go into the trades and shows how critical plumbers are to keeping us safe, our drinking water clean, and of course, and our ‘tubby time’ nice and warm,” said authors Maryrose Debor and Betty Jo Davis, two members of the LIXIL sales organization.
The ongoing relationship between LIXIL and ASA greatly aids our pursuit of purpose. With their resources and support, we find new ideas, overcome challenges and foster business growth. Here's to another year of shared learning and progress as LIXIL and ASA move forward together.