Former White House Director of Events Calls for a Hygiene Revolution

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Former White House Director of Events Calls for a Hygiene Revolution

By Laura Schwartz | Jan 6, 2020

As the former White House Director of Events during the Clinton Administration, Laura Schwartz knows a thing or two about the challenges of navigating client expectations and the growing demand for social responsibility.

Laura kicks-off MPI's A Year of Sustainability series, offering thought leadership from the events industry on accelerating the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with this passionate blog addressing Goals 3 and 6, Good Health and Well-Being and Clean Water and Sanitation.

In 2015, the United Nations announced Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that speak to 17 global issues that are creating obstacles to a sustainable future to be addressed by all Member States by 2030 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Some great progress has been made in the past five years. However, progress toward the goals has slowed, and without major strides being made in the next few years, they won’t be met by their 2030 deadline.

So, where do we start?

MPI has written extensively about the role of the events industry in promoting sustainability throughout the world. I would like to share with you why I am so dedicated to the foundation that serves over 127 countries, including the US, and how we can all be a part of the hygiene revolution together.

As an active board member of the Clean the World Foundation for more than 5 years, I am constantly inspired by its work, dedicated staff, event and hospitality partners, measurable programming and teams of volunteers around the world.

Clean the World started with the hospitality industry. Since 2009, this global health organization has partnered with over 8,000 hotels, airlines and corporations to reduce waste and address inequalities in the access of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) around the world. As part of their programming, Clean the World takes in hygiene amenities that would otherwise be discarded by the hospitality industry, preventing these items from ending up in landfills. Hygiene supplies are then recycled and used in WASH Education programs around the world.

As one of 23 members in the UN Global WASH Cluster, Clean the World’s mission and programming closely align with the Sustainable Development Goals. More specifically, the various programming focuses on providing resources and education on water, sanitation and hygiene, supporting Goals 3 and 6. Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being, is directly influenced by progress made in Goal 6, Clean Water and Sanitation.

Due to the affect water, sanitation and hygiene have on health, these two goals go hand-in-hand. One primary concern for Goal 3 is the limited access to essential health services, including adequate water and sanitation. Programs like our WASH Education program are taught in schools, community centers and healthcare facilities and provide the resources necessary to live healthy lives. Equally as important, the Foundation operates Microenterprise components to support the sustainability of our WASH Education program. By giving local women the opportunity to own and run WASH-related businesses, the communities have continual access to hygiene items such as soap or feminine hygiene products. Additionally, this program supports SDG 5 for Gender Equality by giving women economic stability and key roles in the community.

Throughout the past ten years, Clean the World’s programs have made a huge impact. Having diverted over 20 million pounds of waste and distributed more than 52 million bars of soap to people in need throughout more than 127 counties including America, Clean the World has contributed to the 60 percent reduction in the morbidity rate of hygiene-related illnesses in children under the age of five. Unfortunately, these astonishing numbers are only a small portion of the impact needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

In fact, data collected by the UN suggests that in order to achieve universal access to basic sanitation, alone, the current rate of progress would need to be doubled.

That’s where you come in.

The events industry can help make major improvements in these areas in some really significant ways.

Make an impact at your events!

Clean the World’s Hygiene Kit Builds are a great way to leave a positive impact on the city you gather in. Not only do these events foster teamwork and support the local community, they also fulfill CSR objectives!

Show your impact

Include the impact your event can make in all of your pre- and post-conference materials to show your attendees how much of a difference they’re making just by attending your event.

Host an event with one of our partners

When looking to host an event, consider choosing one of our partners! At any time, you can call Clean the World or one of our hospitality partners to get information on the impact they make. Sharing this information with clients and potential attendees can show how the venue not only meets all their needs but is socially and environmentally responsible as well.

Partner with Clean the World

Join our Hospitality Recycling Program! Hotels and others in the hospitality industry use millions of bars of soap every day. You can protect the environment and save lives by doing something as simple as collecting your bars of soap and bottled amenities.


Naturally, when hosting and planning events, you need hygiene items like soap. When using bars of soap or travel-sized amenities, consider the impact on the environment. Wherever possible, recycle items to prevent waste from ending up in landfills.

Remember, we all make an impact everywhere we go. Make sure your impact is a positive one.



Laura Schwartz
Laura Schwartz

Professional Emcee and Keynote Speaker Laura Schwartz is the author of "Eat, Drink & Succeed" and operates Laura Schwartz Live. She was the White House Director of Events for the Clinton Administration, is currently a board member for the Clean the World Foundation and has been speaking professionally since 2001.