TOKYO, JAPAN — LIXIL Group Corporation (“LIXIL”), a global leader in housing and building materials, products and services, is set to exceed one million units of the innovative SaTo (“Safe Toilet”) brand products in use within July this year. The first SaTo model was developed following funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and launched in 2013 in Bangladesh, retailing for an average sale price of under US$2. SaTo products are now sold or in field trials in countries including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Haiti, Philippines, and India, and have helped LIXIL enable access to safe and hygienic sanitation to approximately five million people.

By accelerating the development and market penetration of innovative business solutions such as the patented SaTo products that reduce the transmission of disease and odors from traditional open pit latrines, LIXIL’s target is to enable improved access to sanitation and hygiene for 100 million people by the year 2020. To support these efforts, a dedicated business unit has now been established within LIXIL Water Technology (LWT) to replicate the model and accelerate business development around the SaTo brand.

The business developing SaTo products will be headed by Vice President and General Manager, Jim McHale, formerly head of research and development at LIXIL’s American Standard Brands and under whose leadership the SaTo products were originally developed. He is also joined by Daigo Ishiyama, Director of Product Design, who previously served as Senior Design Engineer at American Standard Brands in the U.S. and who was co-inventor of the first SaTo model.

LIXIL Group Corporation COO, Kinya Seto said, “As the global leader in the sanitary ware industry, LIXIL has a strong track record of applying our expertise in ceramics and sanitary ware solutions to the needs of emerging markets and help tackle the global sanitation crisis. Through these activities we have an opportunity to make a meaningful social contribution while also tapping into an emerging business 2 segment, and to play a role as a problem-solver where our global network, expertise and experience can make a difference.”

Jim McHale added, “The innovative SaTo products are affordable, easy to install, and positively impact the lives of millions of people by improving comfort and reducing the spread of disease. By developing SaTo branded solutions as a business targeting long-term growth and profits, we will ensure the sustainability of this initiative, enabling LIXIL to continue expanding access to safe and hygienic sanitation to those around the world.”

The SaTo features a counterweighted trapdoor that fits over the hole in the concrete slab and allows waste to flow through, then sealing shut to keep out flies, other insects and odors.