When we talk about a sustainable future, we embrace the proposition that everyone should have access to their fair share of food, shelter, health care and water. Across the globe, 2.1 billion people lack clean drinking water at home, and approximately 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation.
These conditions have serious consequences for community development. Women and children spend more than 200 million hours collecting water daily, often preventing or drastically limiting time for more productive endeavors such as taking care of their families or attending school. The long-term consequences are significant. Every year, 443 million school days are lost worldwide due to water-related illnesses.
These statistics underscore the need to address the sixth UN Sustainable Development Goal, which calls for the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. A big part of the solution is for companies like Xylem to help drive sustainable development. This means growing our business and carrying out our mission of helping to enable a water-secure future. In 2017, Xylem and our employees demonstrated continued commitment by introducing more efficient products, engaging young people in the search for innovative solutions, and embracing the importance of water on a personal level through volunteer activities and contributions to Xylem Watermark, our corporate citizenship and social investment program.
The mission of Xylem Watermark is to provide and protect safe water resources for communities in need around the world and educate people about water issues.