Personal Perspective from Ranya Shamoon, Senior Vice President of Baby Care, Europe
The past year has changed many things about how we interact with society and the world around us. It has brought purpose, and particularly the value of corporate purpose, to the front of people’s minds in an unprecedented way. No longer is it enough for brands to declare what they believe and why. Brands have an increasing responsibility to be inclusive and demonstrate how they are turning that belief into strategy and that strategy into impact.1
Pampers has always been a purpose-led business, genuinely dedicated to the promise of making every baby’s world better. That means ensuring that all families feel represented and served via our products, partnerships and campaigns. For example, through our fifteen-year partnership with UNICEF we had an impact on the lives of millions of babies and their families, putting our promises into action. We supported the UNICEF doctors and nurses on the ground who deliver vital maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) vaccinations and donated funds for 300 million MNT vaccines through our simple promise of one pack of diapers equals one vaccine donated. This has enabled us to protect 100 million women and their babies from MNT and save an estimated 1 million newborn lives.
Being a purpose-led business also means building an awareness of what the diversity of needs across those millions of families looks like in the various stages of their babies’ lives. As we work to ensure that every baby has the best start to a healthy and beautiful life, inclusivity rests at the core of our Pampers promise.
This is why each year, Pampers raises awareness for World Prematurity Day, working with partners and NGOs all over the world to raise awareness of pre-term birth and the impacts it can have on the earliest days of a baby’s life. Together we also raise money and provide donations of our Preemie diapers to those who need them most. As a brand deeply committed to making sure that no baby is left behind, it’s incredibly important to give visibility to the experiences that are underrepresented in mainstream conversations about birth, care and the beginning stages of family life, like prematurity. It’s a big responsibility for us, but it’s also a privilege to champion their stories.
It’s estimated that 15 million babies—more than 10% of babies born each year— are born premature.2 Despite how common the experience is, it’s not a topic that’s as widely spoken about as it should be. Global brands have the power and reach to champion their consumers and be inclusive to every experience, particularly those of the underserved.
Because complications from pre-term birth are the leading cause of death for children under five, it’s understandable that what should be one of the happiest moments of a parent’s life can often become incredibly worrying.3 On top of that, many parents are limited in the physical interactions they can have with their preemie babies, so it’s unsurprising that studies have shown how 80% of parents feel the impacts of time spend in neonatal care on their mental health.4 That’s why at Pampers, we want to use our voice to advocate for premature babies and their families, to make sure that they feel less alone and more supported.
Every touch is huge
As well as raising awareness, I truly believe that companies like Pampers have the power to take action through our products. One of our researchers recognized the impact we could have while in hospital during the birth of her third child. While there, she shared a room with another mother, whose anxiety over having a premature baby and not having the right diapers available affected her so deeply that when she returned from her maternity leave, she spoke with her leadership about developing a special range of diapers designed especially for premature babies. Thanks to Susan and her team’s hard work, Pampers became the first major diaper manufacturer to introduce a diaper for premature babies.
Premature babies’ skin can be up to 2x thinner than that of full-term babies, meaning that for them, every touch is huge. Our Preemie diapers are specifically designed to help premature babies have the best start in life and make sure that their skin is surrounded by a gentle touch. It’s a source of pride to me and to our whole team that our Preemie diapers can help make their first interactions with the world around them more comfortable, and ease some of their parent’s worries.
World Prematurity Day 2021
As with facing any challenge, we’re stronger together. This year for World Prematurity Day we continued working with our retail partners and local associations across Europe to spread awareness of prematurity and support preemie babies and their families by raising donations of our Preemie diapers and giving financial contributions.
We’re lucky to work with inspiring retail partners and NGOs who share our ambition to support every baby. Some examples of this year’s actions across Europe were in the UK, where on top of the usual donations, we also worked with our retail partner ASDA who are giving out free Preemie diapers for the first time, in the Netherlands where we helped donate chairs to NICUs and in Spain where we worked with APREM, the preemie parents’ association to create educational content for preemie babies’ parents.
More than just a moment
World Prematurity Day is an important reminder each year about how much more we need to do. I’ve found that it’s essential for brands like ours to use awareness days like these to dial-up the conversation and create a regular conversation. I personally find it valuable to take this moment each year to reflect on our achievements so far and look forward to what more we need to do.
However, having a positive impact on society and championing every consumer goes much beyond just one day, month or year. It should be a core part of any business and underpin everything that it does and strives for. For us, it’s a lifelong commitment to supporting every baby and making sure they can have a happy, healthy start to their lives. Whether that’s through the products we innovate, the partners we work with, or the discussions we have, we’re dedicated to making every baby’s world better, every day.