TOKYO – LIXIL Corp., a global manufacturer in housing and building materials, products and services, announced its SATO toilets have been selected as a finalist for Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards in two categories: Health and the general World Changing Idea. Fast Company is a business media company focused on innovation in leadership, design, technology and world-changing ideas. Its World Changing Ideas Awards recognize companies for their ingenuity and innovation in creating new concepts, products and projects that can potentially transform people’s lives and improve the world.

“Receiving this prestigious recognition for our SATO products, and their role in improving health around the globe, is a sincere honor,” said Jim McHale, Ph.D., vice president and general manager of LIXIL’s SATO business unit, and co-inventor of the SATO toilets. “We are deeply committed to improving sanitation and hygiene conditions globally by increasing access to these innovative products in developing countries.”

He added, “The original SATO toilet was the first step in developing a full-line brand of bathroom products created for people living without access to clean sanitation facilities. This acknowledgement from the World Changing Ideas Awards program is a rewarding affirmation of our efforts.”

The winners and finalists in the 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards program will be highlighted in the magazine’s April 2017 issue.

SATO toilets are designed to provide a safe, affordable sanitation solution that does not require water and sewer infrastructure. Created to improve the user experience and safety of open-pit latrines in developing countries, SATO toilets utilize a counterweighted trap-door to minimize odors and the transmission of disease.

The first hygienic SATO toilet was developed by American Standard, part of LIXIL, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012. More than one million units are currently in use in more than 14 countries, starting with Bangladesh and now including the Philippines, India, Uganda, Kenya and Haiti. They are available in a number of variations that take into account local needs.

LIXIL has set a target of improving access to sanitation and hygiene for 100 million people by the year 2020. LIXIL’s SATO business unit is playing a key role in achieving this, and is now strengthening its manufacturing capabilities and coverage. To date, it has established manufacturing license agreements in Bangladesh and Uganda, is working with local companies to expand its production and distribution in countries such as India and Kenya, and has plans to further grow in countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa.

Launched this year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 12 winners and nearly 200 finalists from a pool of more than 1,200 entries in categories ranging from Food to Energy to Developing World Technology. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from entries hailing from across the globe, from Pakistan to Brazil to Kenya to the United States.

The Toilet Board Coalition, a business platform with the common goal of accelerating sanitation for all, and of which LIXIL is a founding member, was also named as a finalist in the World Changing Idea category for its Toilet Accelerator Program..