Clean up Time: Unlikely Businesses Ensure Hand Sanitizer SupplyBy Alexa Villarruel | Fri, 04/10/2020 - 12:49
Mexico is moving toward phase 3 of the COVID-19 outbreak, raising concerns about the availability of a vital component in the fight against the global pandemic: hand sanitizer. The alcohol-based product is essential not only for healthcare workers, but for the protection and hygiene of millions of families and businesses.
By the end of March, the National Chamber for the Transformation Industry (CANACINTRA) reported an 800 percent increase in nationwide demand for hand sanitizer, along with a 300 percent jump in price for the liquid alcohol used to manufacture it. Panic purchasing has already caused shortages at pharmacies and supermarkets, mainly in the regions of Puebla, Oaxaca, Yucatan and Mexico City, according to local newspapers.
Businesses aren’t standing idly by. In fact, industries whose products aren’t considered essential, such as makers of beauty products and alcoholic beverages, are transforming their processes and redirecting them to produce essential care items, with hand sanitizer among the priorities.
Beer maker Grupo Modelo was among the first companies to make the switch. Company President Cassiano De Stefano, in an interview for EL ECONOMISTA, emphasized the brewer’s commitment to Mexican society by donating more than 250,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to the Fundación IMSS A.C. The product is made from the alcohol extracted in the manufacturing of the Corona Cero beer and meets national sanitary requirements. Rum-maker Bacardi adopted a similar approach, replacing its rum production to make 20,000 liters of alcohol for hand sanitizer, which will be donated to the communities of Tultitlan, Arandas and Atotonilco. The initiative is part of a global movement involving Bacardi plants in the US, Italy, Great Britain and Puerto Rico to aid in the battle to contain the worldwide pandemic.
The beauty and care industry is taking similar measures. Natura & Co, the Brazilian conglomerate that recently acquired well-known brand Avon, announced on its official website and social media that the company’s makeup and fragrance production lines in Mexico would be used for manufacturing only soap and hand sanitizer. Jean Noel Divet, president of The L’Oréal Group Mexico, also expressed the company’s desire to support healthcare and transportation workers. L’Oréal will start mass producing sanitizer at its two main plants in Xochimilco and San Luis Potosi. According to PMPharma México, more than 300,000 units will go to a variety of hospitals in the EdoMex region and approximately 10 tons of the product will be distributed among 10,000 public vehicles transiting the San Luis area.
As the country experiences phase 3 of the pandemic, in which community transmission becomes widespread, greater efforts will be needed to contain the disease. Businesses in Mexico aren’t waiting. They already are showing that they will to do their part.